Select Committee on European Communities Thirtieth Report


28 July 1998

By the Select Committee appointed to consider Community proposals, whether in draft or otherwise, to obtain all necessary information about them, and to make reports on those which, in the opinion of the Committee, raise important questions of policy or principle, and on other questions to which the Committee considers that the special attention of the House should be drawn.


The Reform of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund

7046/98    Agenda 2000: Commission communication on the establishment of a new financial perspective for the period 2000-2006. (HM Treasury) (COM(98) 164);

7055/98    Agenda 2000: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No. 1164/94 establishing a Cohesion Fund. (DTI). (COM(98) 130);

7609/98    Agenda 2000: Reform of the Structural Funds—proposals for Council Regulations for period 2000-2006. (DTI) (COM(98) 131).


  1.    Since the inception of the European Economic Community there has been a Treaty commitment to reduce regional disparities. Over the years a number of policy instruments have developed to support this aim. The chief instruments are the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund.

  2.    The Committee last reported on these Funds in March 1997. In that Report[1] we called for a radical reform of the administration of the Funds, and said that "changes should not be limited to minor tinkering for fear of disturbing existing administrative empires". We called for reform to be based on the following four policy principles:

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