European Cohesion Policy supports the employment of millions of people, improves energy efficiency, and protects citizens from natural climate disasters

The European Commission published its 2023 Summary Report on the Implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds), showcasing some of the overarching achievements of the ESI funds as things stood at the end of 2022.

These funds are the main financial instruments of Cohesion Policy, supporting regional development investments from the 2014 – 2020 programming period.

The Report shows the wide range of support available through the different programmes for the 2014 – 2020 period, and their direct and positive impact on regions, businesses, and first and foremost, people, who are at the heart of the ESI funds. It also shows the flexibility and adaptability of the framework, to provide solutions to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and the ensuing energy crisis.

While focusing on long-term convergence and competitiveness, solidarity was always at the heart of the ESI Funds. They helped Member States care for refugees and overcome the effects of unprecedented natural climate disasters, ultimately alleviating the pressure on national budgets.

The Report presents the achievements of the ESI Funds by the end of 2022, showing that the Commission has:

  • supported more than 5 million businesses;
  • helped 64.5 million people find employment, foster social inclusion, and skills through training;
  • improved health services for more than 63 million people;
  • increased energy production capacity coming from renewable energy resources by more than 6 000 MW (the equivalent of around 2 400 wind turbines);
  • improved the energy performance of more than 550 000 households;
  • protected 17 million people from  floods and 15 million people from forest fires;
  • supported over 2.8 million projects in the agricultural sector and rural areas;
  • maintained over 48 000 jobs and created over 6 500 new jobs in the fishing and aquaculture sector.

The ESI Funds have been stable drivers of investment in the EU. With their long-term span and thematic focus, they have channeled resources into strengthening the territorial, economic, and social cohesion of the EU regions. They have continued to help regions and companies overcome the challenges of the green and digital transitions, all the while helping workers upskill and encouraging EU territorial cooperation. They have stood their course in the context of unprecedented crises ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic and natural climate disasters.

Source: European Commission | Press Corner (