Cohesion, Results-Orientation and Smart Specialisation
Chapter 4: A reformed EU Cohesion Policy
As we saw in the previous chapter, even though the policy has undergone various alterations at different stages, the underlying architecture, logic, and workings of EU Cohesion Policy have remained largely intact during the 25 years between 1988 and 2013. As such, while the European Union and its regions have changed dramatically during this period, the basic logic and architecture of EU regional and urban policy has for the most part remained constant. This potential disconnection has given rise to fundamental questions regarding the case for such a policy, and this questioning itself has resulted in a great deal of reflection and reconsideration regarding the case for, the role of and the logic of EU Cohesion Policy in the coming years. The case for a reformed EU Cohesion Policy has three broad aspects to it. The first aspect of the case for a reformed EU Cohesion Policy relates to the workings of the policy and the extent to which the policy works – or in other words is successful in achieving what it is intended to achieve. The second aspect of the case for EU Cohesion Policy relates to the distributional features of the policy and the question of whether EU development policy should be focused only on the very poorest parts of the EU, or whether weaker regions in wealthier countries should also be eligible for assistance.
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