Cohesion, Results-Orientation and Smart Specialisation
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Chapter 3: The logic and workings of EU Cohesion Policy
In this chapter we provide a brief overview and outline of the origins and evolution of EU Cohesion Policy, as well as its current workings and economic impacts. As we see, the policy has evolved over recent decades as Europe itself has evolved and additional features of the policy have been incorporated into the overall policy architecture and logic as a response to particular issues which have arisen as Europe has changed. Fundamentally, however, the policy architecture and logic which existed as of 2013 was still basically the same as that which was originally constructed in 1988, and this chapter explains the basic architecture, logic, and selected impacts of the policy over a 25-year period. The EU regional and urban policy agenda, or more precisely EU Cohesion Policy, on some measures can be considered as being possibly the largest single integrated development programme in the Western and OECD world. The limited evidence available suggests that regional development policies within the USA are probably larger than those operating within Europe (Drabenstott 2005). However, this is open to question because there are no comprehensive and consistent data available on nationally-financed development activities for all EU member states (European Commission 2010b) while at the same time the US policies are somewhat scattered across thousands of different state and sectoral programmes (Drabenstott 2005).
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