The principles of cohesion and solidarity – economic, social and territorial – are enshrined in the EU Treaty and are vital for EU integration. The Treaty of Lisbon stresses that “the Union shall aim at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions”.
Economic, social and territorial cohesion must continue to be at the core of the Europe 2020 strategy. Major differences between EU regions and within Member States still exist, hence the importance of the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF). EU cohesion policy needs to support regional development, sustainable growth and quality employment. The General Regulation for the European Structural and Investment Funds for 2014-2020 strengthens these priorities, including (notably the European Social Fund) employment, fair mobility, the fight against poverty, social inclusion, education and training.
The European Code of Conduct concerning Partnership, issued by the European Commission in line with the partnership principle, set out in Article 5 of the new Structural Fund Regulation, must be actively implemented.