EU cohesion policies; Adequate constitutional foundations and regulatory and financial constructions; need for further optimisation
In the past he EU has taken up an ever more important role in matters of cohesion policy. The objectives and principles of EU cohesion policy have been given a strong constitutional basis. We describe the development of this EU constitutional frame in the first section. We then turn our attention to the systemic choice the EU has made to put these constitutional elements into practice. To that end we discuss in some detail the objectives: we specify the three dimensions of cohesion: economic, social and territorial. Next we move into governance aspects; in other words the ways and means. As far as ways are concerned we specify how the EU delivers its cohesion policy. Particularly important in this respect is the development of a system of multi level government involving notably regional authorities but also other actors. The second point we deal with are the regulatory and financial means: in other words the choice of instruments. We find that on these two points the EU has made choices that are rather in line with theoretical prescriptions. We turn our attention next to the question whether the EU can improve on the systemic choices made. In this framework we deal with a few question that are now heavily debated.
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