Complementarity or conflict? The (in)coherence of Cohesion policy

Cite as: Polverari, L., & Michie, R. (2011) Complementarity or conflict? The (in)coherence of Cohesion policy. European Policy Research Papers, No 78, European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

As the preparatory work for the revision of the EU budget for the period 2014+ gets underway, Cohesion policy is once again under scrutiny. Strategic reflections on the futurerole of the policy include its relationship with other EU policies and with domestic policies. A key question is whether Cohesion policy should be embedded within a wider policy framework with a view to achieving greater policy coherence with other relevant policies atboth EU and national levels. The EU debate is also giving increased attention to institutional contexts and whether Member States have appropriate institutional frameworks and administrative capacity in place to facilitate the effective use of EU funding. Against this background, this paper explores the interrelationships between Cohesion policyand domestic policy frameworks and institutional environments (which the paper calls the‘external’ coherence of Cohesion policy), using examples from the following EoRPA countries – Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden andthe United Kingdom – plus Ireland and Spain. A review is also presented of the main tensions with respect to the ‘internal’ coherence of Cohesion policy, i.e. its internal functioning and whether some features of the current Cohesion policy regulatory framework may hinder the policy’s effectiveness in achieving its goals.

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