PROBLEMS AND DILEMMAS OF EU REGIONAL POLICY
Keywords:Regional Policy, Social and Economic Cohesion, effectiveness of the Regional Policy, catch-up processes, two-speed Europe
The aim of the EU regional policy is to increase the level of social and economic cohesion of the Community. The effectiveness of this policy is not unanimously agreed upon. There are regions in Europe which took maximum advantage of the Structural Funds and considerably decreased the gap between them and the average EU level (Lisboa e Vale Do Tejo), or even went beyond it (Ireland). However, there are also regions that, despite huge transfers from the EU budget, are stagnant (southern Italy)
The negative examples are exploited by the opponents of the current policy. According to them, the policy’s achievement in its current shape is too expensive for the entire Union (too high opportunity cost). The same transfers used to support innovativeness in the well-developed regions would lead to an increased innovativeness and modernization of the Member States’ economies in general.
The article’s aim is an attempt to answer the question about the policy’s future shape. It will depend on many factors (social and economic situation in the entire Europe, catch-up processes, political situation, etc). A different shape of regional policy could, however, mean a return to the idea of two-speed Europe, which would not be advantageous to the new Member States.