The cost of policy coherence for development – coherence at what price within EU regional development frameworks ?

  • Gal, Fabian (Comité des régions de l’Union européenne)


The starting point of this proposal is the theory on Policy coherence for Development (PCD).  PCD is mainly concerned with traditional donor-recipient relations. Instead, this proposed project asks, “How well has the EU applied PCD within its European regional development policy frameworks?”

While PCD is an accepted paradigm in the field of international development, it has not yet been applied to EU policy-making. Building on the insights from PCD literature that claim that coherence is linked to power relations and institutional structures, it seems likely that policies for development in the context of regional development within the EU and its Member States should be more coherent than external policies for development given that that the actors demanding regional development within the EU are members of the same political arena as the ones deciding on policies.

In Europe, regional development is strongly linked to the European Union’s cohesion policy, which consists of a set of regulations that outline how to achieve territorial development of European regions and establish the policy instruments to implement the regional development policy. Moreover, the EU’s Cohesion policy regulations entail specific measures and instruments to achieve policy coherence with wider EU objectives but also with national objectives and local and regional development needs. The main point of critique of the EU’s cohesion policy is, however, that its implementation is too difficult. In fact, the administrative burden on final beneficiaries of the policy and its implementing bodies has grown so significant that the whole policy is questioned.

This research proposal will assess in how far the administrative burden in the EU’s Cohesion policy is due to efforts to make the policy coherent with other policy areas and objectives at multiple levels of governance.