Chapter 2: The origins of the EU Cohesion Policy: from regional economic development to the place-based approach
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The overarching objective of the EU Cohesion Policy is to promote the harmonious development of its regions and cities to achieve continuous, coherent, and sustainable development throughout the entire European Union, particularly those less developed. This chapter presents the changes in Cohesion Policy since the mid-1970s, highlighting the shift towards an approach focused on territorial contexts and the endogenous competitive potential of territories. The chapter concentrates on the shift from a traditional policy reducing the socioeconomic disparities between European territories through sectoral interventions to a place-based approach in which policy measures and financial resources are tailored to specific places. This place-based approach aims at bringing policies and activities from different levels of government together. Therefore, policy interventions shifted from being limited to deprived areas to constituting an inherent part of the EU’s development policies.

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