DIMINISHING THE GAP: Johannes Hahn talks about economic integration.
TALLINN - On October 14, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy of the European Commission, was on an official visit to Estonia where he met with Prime Minister Andrus Ansip at Stenbock House in Tallinn. Ansip said that Estonia shares the views of the commission on the future of the cohesion policy.
“We are of the same opinion as the European Commission: the cohesion policy must be implemented so as to serve the goals formulated in the Europe 2020 strategy,” stated Ansip. “In other words, the cohesion policy must focus on raising the competitiveness level and supporting economic growth.”
The aim of the cohesion policy of the European Union is to strengthen the economic, social and territorial unity of the EU by reducing the differences in the development of various regions.
“The cohesion policy is not charity,” stated Commissioner Hahn. “It is an investment policy aimed at raising the competitiveness level of the European Union as a whole and its member-states.”
Ansip and Hahn also agreed on the need to use the cohesion policy means in a more purposeful manner, on the basis of the Europe 2020 strategy.
“It is Europe 2020 as the new economic growth strategy that should facilitate a more purposeful usage of the cohesion policy means,” said Ansip. “There should be a limited number of concrete goals, unlike today.”
The prime minister mentioned the importance of each region being able to independently set the activities needed to achieve the main goals of the cohesion policy, proceeding from the peculiarities of that region.
“Each region has its own specific issues and opportunities,” said the prime minister. “We must take into account the fact that the activities that facilitate achievement of certain goals are different in various regions.”
Ansip also stressed the importance of macro regional strategies that offer additional opportunities to achieve the common goals of the European Union.
“Such regional strategies as the Baltic Sea Strategy ensure that common regional problems that affect several countries are solved jointly,” noted Ansip. “This should be taken into account when planning means for implementing the cohesion policy.”