“In a difficult financial climate, this investment will be instrumental in creating long-term employment and reviving local economies, as well as underpinning the EU’s commitment to the fight against climate change,” Danuta Hubner, European commissioner for regional policy said.

The cohesion policy was included in EU law in the 1980s as a way of redistributing money between richer and poorer nations of region in order to balance out the effects of economic integration. Before the EU’s increase in membership in 2004, the main beneficiaries were nations such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.