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The Importance of EU Cohesion Policy in Central and Eastern Europe

Akos Kengyel


The successful operation of EU level regional development – or cohesion – policy has a strategic importance from the point of view of the whole integration process. Strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion and decreasing disparities between EU member states and regions are not only one of the main priorities of the integration, but at the same time these are justified expectations of the people living in the member states of the union. The cohesion policy transfers should be spent on those factors which have the biggest contribution to the improvement of development prospects and competitiveness in the given regions. After a decade of the “Eastern enlargement” it is important to have a look at the experiences of the new member states in relation to EU transfers and their effects on convergence. This article focuses on the impacts of cohesion policy transfers on catching up and the experience of the new member states. In the first part of the study the main reasons in favour of an intervention at EU level will be explained. After the theoretical background, the next part will present the importance of EU funds in financing public investments in Central and Eastern Europe. The last part will focus on the effects of EU regional policy on catching up: macro-econometric model results will be analysed and the “qualitative” effects of EU level regulatory frameworks will be explained. The main goal is to give an explanation about the “added value” of EU cohesion policy in the process of catching up in Central and Eastern European member states.


economic integration; catching up; EU cohesion policy; new member states

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