Challenges for the New Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020: An Academic and Policy Debate


Emīls Pūlmanis

PhD.cand., MSc.proj.mgmt.

State Regional Development Agency (Latvia)

Deputy Director of Project implementation and monitoring department

Riga, Latvia

The Latvian Presidency of the EU, together with DG REGIO and the Regional Studies Association, organized a conference on the challenges for the reformed cohesion policy 2014-2020 that took place on 4-6 February 2015 in Riga. It aimed to bring together the academic and policy worlds to take stock of the challenges and opportunities for cohesion policy in 2014-2020.

This event was the second in a series of EU Cohesion Policy Conferences and was held at the University of Latvia in Riga. The conference sought to debate the challenges facing cohesion policy up to 2020 and the related policy and research priorities. It brought together three different constituencies – members of the EU institutions, Member State representatives and members of academia. The discussions were around 5 thematic blocks:

  • Economic geography and Cohesion policy: how are the economic and social challenges for European Structural & Investment Funds changing?
  • Institutions and governance: what can Cohesion policy do to strengthen public administration and effective management of the Funds?
  • Performance and results: how can Cohesion policy resources be used most effectively and efficiently?
  • Instruments: what kind of Cohesion policy interventions makes a difference?
  • EU economic governance and Cohesion policy: what are the implications of governance reforms for Cohesion policy?

Cohesion Policy is financially the most intensive EU policy and aims to reduce disparities between EU regions. The objective of the new Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 is to promote the achievement of “Europe 2020” goals and allocate financing to underlying priorities – innovations, business support, employment and modern public administration.

Discussions focused on understanding the current situation in Member State programming particularly how the principles of Cohesion policy are being translated into practice and highlighting the importance of good governance and administrative capacity. Many of the workshops focused on ‘what works in cohesion policy’ – the effectiveness, relevance and utility of Structural and Investment Funds at EU level and in individual countries and regions, especially in addressing the goals of Europe 2020 and dealing with pressing challenges such as youth unemployment.

It was highlighted that building robust systems to measure performance is a challenge for both academics and policy makers, including assessing the impact of the policy for which a multiplicity of approaches is essential given the broad range of areas of intervention.


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About the Author

140507 - Pulmanis - PHOTOEmīls Pūlmanisflag-latvia-riga

Riga, Latvia 

Emīls Pūlmanis is a member of the board of the Professional Association of Project Managers in Latvia and Deputy Director of the Project Implementation and Control Department at the State Regional Development Agency of Latvia. He has gained a BSc. in engineer economics, a professional master’s degree in project management (MSc.proj.mgmt) and currently is a PhD candidate with a specialization in project management. He has elaborated and directed a number of domestic and foreign financial instruments co-financed projects. He was a National coordinator for a European Commission-funded program – the European Union’s financial instruments PHARE program in Latvia. Over the past seven years he has worked in the public administration project control and monitoring field. He was a financial instrument expert for the Ministry of Welfare and the European Economic Area and Norwegian Financial Mechanism implementation authority as well as an expert for the Swiss – Latvian cooperation program as a NGO grant scheme project evaluation expert. He has gained international and professional project management experience in Germany, the United States and Taiwan. In addition to his professional work, he is also a lecturer at the University of Latvia for the professional master study program in Project management. Emīls has authored more than 25 scientific publications and is actively involved in social activities as a member of various NGO’s. Emīls can be contacted at [email protected].

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