The EU spends €50 bn a year on structural funds, making it the second largest EU budget line and after the CAP the second biggest cause of the UK's budgetary imbalance with the EU. Evidence from areas that have been receipt of structural funds for many years, including Greece, demonstrates that EU structural funding does not always achieve the desired ends.

The Fresh Start Project will look at the whole EU structural fund policy and whether it provides value for money. It will look at the impact of the structural funds on the EU budget, and if they are continued who should finance and administrate them. It will also look, as the EU Commission has, at whether they should be co-financed or if their financing should be devolved to the member states.1 Lastly it will look at what the UK could attempt to achieve –an exemption from the structural funds policy or perhaps continue it as a bilateral agreement in the form taken by Norway.2

1 The European Commission has already looked at these ideas:

2 The Norwegian Fund:

Structural Funds Chapter (10 Jul 2012)

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Open Europe Report (26 Jan 2012)

OFF TARGET:The case for bringing regional policy back home

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The minutes of the APPG for European Reform meeting on Structural Funds can be found here.

Supporting Documents:

- The slides used in the meeting can be read here.

The minutes of the Fresh Start Group meeting on Structural Funds can be found here.