Citizens’ awareness and perceptions of EU regional policy

Cohesion policy invests in all EU regions to reduce inequalities both between Member States and between regions within them. At €351.8 billion, it accounts for approximately a third of the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period and co-finances projects in transport and communication infrastructures, support for small and medium-sized enterprises and the modernisation of educational and health systems. The policy is also a major instrument for EU’s "Europe 2020" goals, which aim to create growth and jobs through innovation, deal with the problems of climate change and energy dependence and reduce poverty and social exclusion.  
How much do citizens know about this and what is their perception? As part of a series that examines Europeans’ awareness of and attitudes towards the EU, the European Commission's Regional Policy and Urban Development Directorate General (REGIO) is regularly conducting topical Eurobarometers since 2010. In 2019, between 3 and 12 June, 27 144 EU respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed via telephone (mobile and fixed line) in their mother tongue. These are the main results:

Four in ten respondents have heard about EU co-financed projects in their local area

EU-wide awareness has risen by five percentage points since the last survey in 2017, following a general trend of rising awareness since the first survey in 2010.    
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Over eight in ten respondents say that the impact of EU co-financed projects on the development of their city or region has been positive

Respondents who said they have heard of EU co-financed projects were then asked whether this support has had a positive or a negative impact on the development of their city or region. 
Overall, the proportion of respondents who say the impact of these projects has been positive has risen slightly since 2010.

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Over nine in ten respondents want investments in education, health or social infrastructure

More than nine in ten respondents (91%) consider education, health or social infrastructures one of the more important domains for investment for their city or region, followed by the environment (90%) and renewable and clean energy (87%). At least eight in ten respondents also mention support for small and medium-sized businesses (81%) and research and innovation (80%) are more important. 
Smaller majorities mention the other investment domains. At least three quarters of respondents say investment in vocational training (78%) and transport facilities (75%) are the more important, while over six in ten identify energy networks (63%) and just under six in ten say tourism and culture (57%). 

Finally, just over half the respondents say that broadband Internet access (51%) is one of the more important domains for investment for their city or region, while just under half say the same about investment in the reception and integration of migrants and refugees(48%). 

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Watch this video to find out more about the results!

Yves Durinck
Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy - Unit Communication
European Commission