This article traces the emergence of a new “experimentalist governance architecture” in EU Cohesion policy and assesses its effectiveness. Following trends in other EU policy areas, the core features of the architecture are the joint setting of objectives between EU institutions and the Member States, (semi-)autonomous implementation by the Member States and regions, the use of performance reporting and peer review mechanisms at the EU level and the periodic revision of policy objectives. The new architecture—characterized by a hybrid mix of soft and hard new modes of governance—has been instrumental in driving policy and governance change in the 2007–2013 strategies and delivery arrangements, although a direct and exclusive “EU-driven effect” is not always easy to discern. More fundamentally, the effects on mutual learning have so far been weak and are unlikely to improve unless a more structured and robust assessment and peer review process is introduced.
- EU cohesion policy
- European cohesion policy