Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU
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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.
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Chapter 19: Cohesion policy in Central and Eastern Europe: the challenge of learning

Ilona Pálné Kovács


The chapter deals with the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries which joined the European Union (EU) between 2004 and 2013. The nature of regional disparities, the use of Structural and Cohesion Funds and the governance aspects exhibit many CEE features behind the phenomenon of Europeanisation and conditionality. These aspects are emphasised in the chapter. The author concludes that CEE countries have started to catch up, and differences among the member states have decreased. The regional gap is, however, growing within these countries due to their lower competitiveness and lower governance capacity in management of EU funds; raising the question, ten years after the enlargemen, of the fit or misfit of EU Cohesion policy to the Central and Eastern European context.

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