In the European Union’s (EU) next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the share of cohesion policy funds will likely be smaller than in the current MFF, leading to serious conflicts between net contributing and net beneficiary Member States. A possible solution to avoid these conflicts may be the integration of market-based investment along the lines of the ‘Juncker Plan’ in future cohesion policy measures. Another challenge in many EU Member States relates to the risk of corruption associated with cohesion policy expenditures. Recent research results based on ‘big data’ indicate the widespread existence of this phenomenon in several main beneficiary Member States. Less grants and more market-based solutions may offer a remedy to this problem.