Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission approved Austria’s 2021-2027 cohesion policy investment strategy on Monday.
The strategy will help Austria to promote territorial, social and economic cohesion and focuses on EU priorities including digital and green transitions, the EC pointed out in a statement.
The body noted that Austria plans to invest more than 60% of its allocation from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in research infrastructure, stressing that this should improve resource efficiency and productivity.
The EU member state plans to use funds from the Just Transition Fund in its green push aimed at achieving carbon neutrality and aims to “provide alternative jobs to replace those in energy-intensive industries presently relying on fossil fuels as energy sources.”
Austria is planning to spend some 130 million euros from ERDF and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) on the promotion of social cohesion with a focus on women’s access to the labor market and gender equality.
Austria’s plan includes efforts aimed at improving the quality of life in urban and rural areas, the EC continued, with 46 million euros from the ERDF to go towards improving resource efficiency, sustainable development, and innovation.
Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, pointed out that “Austria will focus cohesion policy investments on research and innovation, boosting SMEs’ high-tech production capacities and business competitiveness thanks to resource efficiency, green and digital development.”
Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, added that “Austria will take the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights to the next level,” and expressed the belief that “building inclusive societies is not just a question of fairness, it also brings huge benefits to the economy.”
Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, pointed out that Austria’s plan will allow it “to build a resilient and sustainable fish production sector as well as to boost the digital transition and reinforce the economic and social vitality of rural communities.”
The EC noted that the agreement with Austria is the fourth such agreement signed with EU member states for the period between 2021 and 2027, following agreements signed with Germany, Greece, and Lithuania.