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To reduce social and economic disparities among the 27 member states, the EU is putting into practice the EU cohesion policy, which tries to bring out concrete results in areas such as education, employment and economic growth. Each member state decides on the specific details of how the cohesion policy should be implemented in their country but have to submit a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for acceptance.
The EU, through DG Regional Policy, is awarding the cohesion funds for the period 2007-2013 according to the following criteria: eligible population, national wealth, regional wealth and unemployment rate. In terms of specifically investing in higher education and research, the NSRFs of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are two cases to note.
While these two countries have submitted detailed logical proposals for the management of their cohesion funds, it has yet to be seen if the ambitions will be realised.