Przemiany polityki regionalnej w Unii Europejskiej
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The European Union is one of the most prosperous economic areas in the world but disparities between member states are significant. The need to promote balanced development by reducing the gap between the different regions and helping the backward to catch up was recognised in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome. The Treaty already provided the European Social Fund and the European Investment Bank. The other instruments were introduced as the building of EU progressed and new states joined. In 1964 the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund was set up and continues to this day to support rural development. The European Regional Development Fund was created in 1975. In 1986, the Single European Act introduced for the first time a specific title to cover the notion ol economic and social cohesion and in 1992 the Treaty on European Union made cohesion one of the EU’s priority objectives. Then the Community set up the Cohesion Fund to show solidarity to the least prosperous member states. The next year, the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance was created to help this sector to restructure. In March 1999 in Berlin, the European Council reached agreement on Agenda 2000, which also included the reform of the structural funds. Nowadays EU regional policy faces the main aim - enlargement. It is a common view that enlargement poses a significant challenge for EU structural and cohesion policies. The EU is opening up to new countries whose economic and social conditions are often worse than in the least developed regions of the current member states.