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EU Regional Policy. Experiences and future concerns.

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The European Union's regional policy has become one of its principal policy areas: It accounts for a major share of EU's budget and is of essential interest for its beneficiaries, the Southern countries and the new EU members of 2004. Created with the ambition to reduce income differences between countries and regions in the EU, it did not only achieve success and thus has also repeatedly been criticised. This paper wishes to present the most important facts of EU regional policy as it developed during the past two decades. It starts with the historical development and discusses the major theoretical arguments which motivate EU regional policy. Consequently, the policy priorities, the so-called "objectives", are presented and the financial contribution made by the Structural Funds to old and new members is shown. The experience in objective 1 areas: Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, the Italian South and East Germany, are discussed in detail. A look at the variety of regional problems in objective 2 areas follows. The paper concludes with the main arguments involved in the present drafting stage of the future EU regional policy. (author's abstract) ; Series: EI Working Papers / Europainstitut

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Gabriele Tondl

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