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The History and Challenges of Cohesion Policies. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 14 No. 2, February 2014

Dudek, Carolyn Marie (2014) The History and Challenges of Cohesion Policies. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 14 No. 2, February 2014. [Working Paper]

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    From Introduction. Regional economic disequilibria was viewed as both an obstacle to and result of integration (European Commission 1965; European Commission 1962; European Commission 1969). Even within the Treaty of Rome, the Community tried to establish mechanisms to alleviate regional inequality. However, it was not until 1975 that the main mechanism of regional policy was established as a result of British and Irish enlargement: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Since then, cohesion policy has become a significant EU expenditure accounting for €347bn, or 35.7% of the total EU budget for 2007-13(European Commission Regional Policy-Info Regio 2012). It has also become a key policy linked to enlargement. The underlying principle of cohesion policy assumes that the market alone cannot solve development problems and therefore government intervention is needed. This notion is in direct contrast to the underlying principle of EU competition policy, which asserts that the free market can solve economic development problems (Meadows, interview by author, 2003). The logic underlying cohesion policy is not only counter to EU competition policy, but also regulatory policies. Unlike other EU policies, cohesion policy is not a sectoral policy, but rather territorial in nature (Leonardi, 2006). Thus at times EU regulatory policy has also unintentionally worked counter to the goals of regional policy, sometimes disadvantaging poorer regions (Dudek, 2005). As the Community has sought to ameliorate regional disparities, it meant that all levels of government: local, regional, national and supranational would need to be involved, however, member states have different territorial governance and European regional development programs have to varying degrees impacted the relationship and policy responsibility of different levels of government (Leonardi, 2006; Bachtler and Michie 1993; Marks, 1993). The very nature of regional development policy has provoked a re-examination of subsidiarity, or which level of government is the lowest and most appropriate level. The discussion of policy formulation and implementation at the lowest level possible also addresses the issue of the democratic deficit. Some argue that the closer government is to the people the more responsive and representative it is. Democracy, however, also implies that public funds are used in a transparent way and for public rather than private good. Yet, as we examine the history and current situation of EU regional funds we find that corruption and misuse still abound. Thus, to understand the history of regional policy it is imperative to look at the major transformations of the policy, how regional policy has impacted subsidiarity and the quality of democracy, become an important instrument of enlargement and contradicted or conflicted with other EU policies.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > cohesion policy
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > regional policy/structural funds
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Miami, Florida-EU Center of Excellence > Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series
    Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 11:40
    Number of Pages: 18
    Last Modified: 23 Apr 2015 11:40

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