Challenges of Future EU Cohesion Policy
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Publication date: 2017-10-31
GNPJE 2017;291(5):31-49
A debate on the shape of European Cohesion Policy (ECP) post-2020 has already started in the European Union. It is being waged amid unfavorable conditions, both internal and external. The global economic crisis that erupted after 2007 had a particularly strong effect on the EU, especially its weak and peripheral regions. In addition, Europe has faced a refugee crisis, an increased terrorism threat and anti-integration trends. All this poses a dramatic challenge to the future of the European Union, including ECP. The purpose of this paper is to answer the question of how to configure this sphere of the European Union’s structural intervention and adjust it to changing needs under adverse external and internal conditions. The paper describes the key features of ECP and real processes in the EU’s territorial systems. It also indicates the need to strengthen the territorial dimension of ECP. As ECP requires continued improvement, the paper presents an analysis and recommendations for greater creativity and flexibility of ECP, combined with necessary simplifications and increased effectiveness. Further on, the paper describes how ECP is financed in terms of its share of the EU budget, fund allocation criteria and the territorial scope of EU structural intervention. The complementarity and logic of interventions under individual European Structural and Investment Funds are analyzed. The final section of the paper presents recommendations on how cohesion policy should be shaped after 2020.
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