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 27: The ‘real’ principles of Cohesion policy

Robert Leonardi and Catalina Holguin


The chapter discusses the five principles which have underpinned Cohesion policy from its origins, in 1989, to the present day. These five principles reflect the overall objectives of the policy as described in the Single European Act and reiterated in all of the subsequent regulations which have governed the management of the policy through its five cycles. The five principles are: Cohesion policy represents an economic policy and not a policy of social provisions to alleviate the impact of the integration of the European market; the results of Cohesion policy are measurable and aim at the reduction of disparities between core and peripheral areas in the European Union; the policy is not designed to crowd out existing national investment programmes but rather to enhance them; the interventions undertaken by Cohesion policy are expected to be sustainable over time and once completed do not need further government intervention; and finally, Cohesion policy is governed by built-in mechanisms for its monitoring and evaluation.

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