Back to the project overview

Final Report

National Policies and Cohesion

Client

European Commission

Year

2020

Together with experts of the Politecnico di Milano and the Technopolis Group, Prognos researched trends of national and regional disparities as well as the role of national policies to reduce these imbalances.

The economic disparities between the Member States and the regions of the EU remain a concern for the overall economic and social well-being of the continent. Therefore, the European Commission assigned this study in order to better understand the underlying trends behind between- and within-country disparities. The study is based on extensive quantitative analysis as well as simulation modelling, stakeholder interviews and case studies in selected Member States.

Results of the study

Regional disparities have been on the rise in many European Member States. Most Central and Eastern European Member States have a GDP-per-capita of less than 75 % of the EU-28 average. Similarly, regions in the Southern European Member States show significant gaps to leading regions. Since the economic crisis in 2008, this trend has turned negative again.

There are several reasons for this trend: The enlargement of the EU has favoured convergence between Member States but also exacerbated intra-national disparities. Similarly, the European Single Market and the introduction of the Euro helped convergence between Member States but also resulted in different effects on intra-national disparities;investments were made mainly in major cities. Regional disparities have their sources in either a different level of productivity among regions, or in the uneven distribution of growth assets. With a similar industrial composition across European regions or with a similar productivity, the disparities would in fact be much lower.

Suggestions for reducing the disparities

Despite the significant investments from the EU’s Cohesion Policy and national efforts, disparities remain deeply ingrained in the regional structures and are difficult to reverse. Nevertheless, national policies – especially if they are coordinated with the EU’s Cohesion Policy – can reduce imbalances;and the disparities might also be even higher without this policy. Investments in human capital, access to infrastructure, and improving governance appear to be the most effective instruments in this respect. 

The national policies should particularly focus on assets for growth and transformation, improve productivity in low output sectors or sectors that do not perform to their potential, take measures to balance the growth of major cities with regions that might be left behind, and focus on policies that are additional to and coordinated with Cohesion Policy.

To the study (PDF, European Commission Website)

Authors: Jan-Philipp Kramer, Paul Jeffrey, Janis Neufeld, Janosch Nellen, Moritz Schrapers, Neysan Khabirpour (Prognos AG); Roberta Capello, Roberto Camagni, Ugo Fratesi, Silvia Cerisola (POLIMI); Nikos Maroulis, Kinscö Izsak, Laurent Laurich (Technopolis Group)

 

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer

Principal, Head of EU-Services

View profile

Our work on this topic

Take a look at our latest projects and activities.

Eine Ingenieurin und ein Ingenieur arbeiten gemeinsam an einem Laptop.

Evaluation of the cluster initiatives

2021

For the EU Commission, we evaluate the EU cluster programmes together with CSES and IDEA Consulting Group.

Vater hält die Hand eines kleinen Kindes, im Hintergrund Bäume und Sonnenschein

ZDF Germany Study 2019

2019

On behalf of ZDF, we examined the external living conditions for families and senior citizens in Germany's 401 districts and independent cities.

Fernrohr mit Blick über einen See in der Schweiz.

Main Determinants of Regional Economic Resilience

2019

What was the impact of the great recession on EU regions? Prognos Consultant Neysan Khabirpour contributed to a recent European Commission Working Paper.

Blick auf eine Stadt von oben

Impact Area Analysis Regions Düsseldorf-Kreis Mettmann / Rheinisches Revier

2019

The impact analysis outlines the spatial links between the two regions.

Titelbild des Prognos Zukunftsatlas 2019

Prognos Zukunftsatlas® 2019

2019

How well equipped are Germany's districts and cities for the future? Who is ahead in the ranking, who needs to catch up? The Prognos Zukunftsatlas 2019 provides answers (in German).

Blick auf eine Stadt von oben

Fields of action for lignite regions

2018

How can structural change in lignite mining areas succeed? A Prognos study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics reveals possible approaches and instruments.

Blick auf eine Stadt von oben

ZDF Germany Study 2018

2018

Where is the best place to live in Germany? Prognos investigated this question on behalf of ZDFzeit.

Europaflagge im Wind

Evaluation of Cohesion Policy programmes: Work Package 12 – Delivery Systems

2016

Prognos and KPMG analysed the effectiveness and efficiency of cohesion policy implementation during the 2007-2013 period and identified the main underlying success factors and areas in need of development.

Adobe Stock - CleverStock

About us

Prognos – Providing Orientation.

Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

Learn more