The European cohesion policy can be seen as one of the strongest illustrations of the tension between solidarity and responsibility that makes European integration so unique. This Policy Paper by Marjorie Jouen analyses the 2014-2020 cohesion policy and suggests revising the different parts of the package proposed by the European Commission while keeping in mind lessons from the past.
The author revisits the “Cohesion Pact” between EU countries which determines the distribution of EU aid and the strict monitoring of its use. She then reveals the underlying difficulties of the renewal of the Pact, due to the exacerbated tension between solidarity and responsibility, as well as the effects of the current crisis. She finally explains that an ambitious and sustainable compromise post-2013 can only occur if the criteria for intra-European solidarity are redefined in terms of the model of development that Europeans wish to construct.
To achieve this, the author suggest to clarify the role of the cohesion policy; to develop a vision for post-2020 Europe that prepares the transition to a “smart, green and inclusive development model”; and to reconcile the European Union and its citizens by reinforcing the “local” aspect of European policies and simplifying procedures.