COHESION POLICY IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: A BRIEF CRITICAL REVIEW

Francisco Carballo-Cruz

Resumo


Over the past four decades the EU cohesion policy’s focus, objectives and content have experienced significant changes as a result of successive reforms aiming at adapting it to a Union in constant evolution. In the early stages, cohesion policy had eminently redistributive goals and it assumed an explicit spatial dimension. In the late nineties, the possibility of an extension towards Eastern European countries and the limited willingness of net contributors to increase funding led to a turning point in cohesion policy. The increased importance of economic growth and job creation in the 2000’s, within the cohesion policy’s context, has led to a misrepresentation of its essence and motivations. Cohesion was losing importance towards competitiveness and regional equity towards national efficiency. Today, cohesion policy is for many EU countries the main mean for mobilising investment in a context of budgetary constraints and credit rationing. In light of the available evidence, it is likely that the overall design and priorities of the current cohesion policy have a limited impact in terms of convergence in many EU regions, especially in the less developed regions. This paper’s main objectives are to analyse the evolution of European cohesion policy throughout its history, to present a picture of cohesion policy in the 2014-2020 programming period and to discuss the main problems associated with its design, priorities and programming model.

Palavras-chave


Cohesion policy; Regional development; Europe

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