Regions in the EU's Eastern and Southern peripheries tend to perform badly across many rankings from economic development, to quality of government, social justice and innovation potential, despite the fact that the vast majority of EU structural funding has been spent in these countries.
However, these countries followed different development trajectories and reacted differently to the economic crisis.
Some of them still struggle, others thrive, others, after years of structural transformation, are stuck in a middle-income trap. Successes and failures as a result of EU cohesion implementation are a valuable source of feedback for future plans.
Southern part of the EU, and Central and Eastern Europe provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate them, The whole implementation exercise is sometimes challenging to accomplish, as both the public and private sectors have low absorption capacity.
In contrast, positive experiences also emerged. Regions in Central and Eastern European countries witnessed improvements in the form of change in GDP per capita, benchmarked against the EU average during the years 2008-2015, while Southern Europe improved similarly between 2000-2008. In this volume, the authors cover a variety of aforementioned problems and experiences of either all member states, with special attention to peripheral countries, or to sectoral or regional problems in selected countries.
The book begins with an overview of the issues of economic convergence and quality of life in all member states.
It also addresses political aspects of EU cohesion policy, including involvement of civil society into this public policy, as well as relationships between cohesion policy support and EU identification.
The final section discusses an important novelty in the framework of EU cohesion policy, namely the JESSICA initiative, that is, an instrument offering repayable and recyclable funding targeted at economically-viable and sustainable urban development projects.