Cohesion, Results-Orientation and Smart Specialisation
Chapter 2: The regional and urban economies of the European Union
Working as a local and regional development policy across multiple different countries, EU Cohesion Policy is probably the largest single development policy in the western world (McCann and Ortega-Argilés 2013a, b). However, relating the insights and lessons derived from the experience of EU Cohesion Policy to wider global arenas, and also vice-versa, needs to be undertaken carefully, because Cohesion Policy operates in a unique and very specific context. It is an integrated development policy which works on the basis of a single overarching legal basis, logic and architecture, which is then adapted to the national context of each EU member state. The backdrop to the policy is both interesting and challenging, and a careful assessment of the effects of Cohesion Policy which is predicated on the specifics of the EU context does indeed provide powerful insights and lessons for other parts of the world. Similarly, as will be seen in this book, the insights and lessons from the wider development agenda in other parts of the world have also heavily influenced the Cohesion Policy reforms. However, in order to make these types of discussions fruitful, they need to be underpinned by a good knowledge of the EU context and also an awareness of the logic, architecture and intended role of the policy. The European Union is an enormous and also a highly heterogeneous economic environment.
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