Policy Recommendations

Main takeaways

26 September 2019


Read full report – Scenarios for cohesive growth. Visegrad Insight 3 (15) 2019

Scenario 1:

Cohesion with an expiry date

1 – The European Commission should assess each region regularly on an individual basis, highlighting all the factors that affect lagging regions, such as corruption and ossified institutions.

2 – When a region is identified as underperforming, the Commission provides management and assistance to improve the region’s administrative and institutional capacity.

3 – If regions are unable to improve their economic standing due to institutional flaws or inadequate macroeconomic planning, the cohesion funding should be suspended. When the issues persist or the provided guidance is ignored, a moratorium on future funding ought to be considered.





Scenario 2:

Paving the green ways

1 – An important part of the cohesion funds should go to regional programmes that are focused on the transformation to green means of technology and energy production.

2 High emission countries working towards a green transformation should not be penalised for their old
industrial structures and current inefficiencies. Instead, these countries preferably would be incentivised to retrofit their current power generation plants to reach the highest levels of efficiency possible until the transformation is complete.

3 Regional and environmental differences should be taken into account. The Commission needs to consider that areas in the north will be higher emitters during the winter months while areas in the south can act as “sinks” to absorb the addition of carbon emissions.

4 Greater reliance of market-based incentives can help to reduce the cost of reductions in carbon emissions. This applies also to private transport where the old member states heavily subsidise electric cars, which they want to produce. The race for low carbon transport should remain open to new technologies.



Scenario 3:

Leapfrogging to smart R&D


1 Part of the cohesion funds should be allocated to the set-up of modern and independent research institutions in the various regions of New Europe. These institutions should not be staffed primarily with locals and should focus on specific areas where it is possible to foster research excellence rather than broad-spectrum science projects.

2 Closer cooperation between research institutions and the private business sector must be encouraged. Cohesion support helps to boost public spending on R&D but should also focus on overcoming infrastructural deficiencies that hinder cooperation with businesses.

3 It would be wise for the Commission to engage in a robust campaign to convince the old member states how this funding will encourage competition and raise the overall level of excellence across the Union.




Scenario 4:

From Venus to Mars

1 The EU needs to invest in common procurement which will improve domestic security forces as well as strengthen the degree of European cohesion in the areas of security and defence.

2 Additional funding from the EU budget should target defence R&D, which today is performed almost exclusively in large Member States. EU funding, will, over time, lead to a greater geographical spread of capabilities in these areas.

3 The current funding levels for cybersecurity must be dramatically increased to approach the levels of investment in the US and in Asia.

4 In the area of border controls, funding can be allocated to promote the voluntary participation of member states in common migration policies, such as an acceptable relocation plan.