The Paradigm Shift of EU Cohesion Policy

Annika Holz

EU cohesion policy is changing from a convergence-oriented redistributive policy into an instrument for the coordination of economic policies. This transformation of cohesion policy is puzzling, because intergovernmental negotiations on national net balances and high consensus requirements make major reforms difficult. The project undertakes a case study to examine the processes and conditions that have influenced the policy process. Its main focus is on the decoupling of decision-making arenas, which facilitates flexibility in decision-making but can result in a lack of implementation. Using process tracing, the study analyzes the change in EU cohesion policy in the programming periods 2007–2013 and 2014–2020 and the ongoing negotiations for the programming period 2020–2027. It thereby considers the complete policy cycle from agenda-setting to the formal negotiations and program planning.

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