Table of Contents

Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU

Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU

Edited by Simona Piattoni and Laura Polverari

This Handbook covers all major aspects of EU Cohesion policy, one of the most significant areas of intervention of the European Union. Over five parts, It discusses this policy’s history and governing principles; the theoretical approaches from which it can be assessed; the inter-institutional and multi-level dynamics that it tends to elicit; its practical implementation and impact on EU member states; its interactions with other EU policies and strategies; and the cognitive maps and narratives with which it can be associated. An absolute must for all students of the EU.

Chapter 2: The institutions and procedures of Cohesion policy

Paul Stephenson

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy, urban and regional studies, regional studies


Cohesion policy engages a multiplicity of actors over successive programming periods both in renegotiating the Structural Funds regulations and interpreting them within the new design of the operational programmes financed by the three main funds. The chapter first maps the actors and institutions in Cohesion policy, from EU institutions to formalised interest groups. Next, it briefly introduces the financing, rules and procedures in operation. The chapter then looks in depth at the implementation cycle, examining how programmes are drawn up, covering project appraisal, providing match funding, and eventually assessing programme and project results to show how policy fared. Finally, it examines financing for technical assistance and questions of administrative capacity to ensure good implementation and monitoring. The architecture of Cohesion policy governance is arguably of policy networks, whereby multilevel policy actors participate in operational programmes with various clusters of actors (experts, lobbies, academics, non-governmental organisations, and so on), and where various roles and tasks are performed at different levels.

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