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 It is designed to boost growth and jobs across Europe by targeting EU investment on Europe’s Growth and Jobs Agenda (“Europe 2020”).

The focus on fewer investment priorities in line with these objectives will be at the heart of the new Partnership Contracts, which Member States will agree with the European Commission. They will set clear targets and set aside a financial performance reserve to reward regions who do best in reaching their goals. To ensure that the impact on growth and jobs of EU investments is not undermined by unsound macro-economic policies or by weak administrative capacity Commission can ask to review programmes or suspend the funding if remedial action is not taken.

The impact of the funds will also be strengthened by simplifying and harmonizing the rules of different funds, including rural development and maritime and fisheries. One set of rules for five different funds. And a more integrated approach will make sure the various funds serve coherent goals and strengthen each other’s impact.

Today’s proposals will bolster in particular social investment, empowering people to face future challenges of the labour market, with the Globalisation Adjustment Fund and a new Programme for Social Change and Innovation complementing and reinforcing the European Social Fund.

These proposals will now be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament, with a view to adoption by the end of 2012, to allow for the start of a new generation of cohesion policy programmes in 2014.

Negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework for the whole EU budget will continue in parallel. The Commission has already proposed to allocate €336 billion for cohesion policy instruments in 2014-2020.

The final allocations by Member State, and lists of eligible regions by category, will only be decided after the final adoption of the package on the table today.