With around 30 billion euros per year, the European Union promotes economic and social cohesion in the Community. But the instruments of this cohesion policy are hardly suitable for achieving the goals it has set itself.

The intended catching-up process of economically weak regions and member states is only inadequately supported. One reason for the inefficient design of cohesion policy, according to the politically explosive result of this analysis guided by public choice theory, is the increasing influence of the European Parliament.

The book, which contains a detailed analysis of all reforms of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, offers on the one hand a problem-oriented introduction to European cohesion policy. Among other things, the most recent reform of the funding system, completed only in 1999, is discussed in detail.

On the other hand, the book contributes to the debate on institutional reforms of the European Union – by provoking the thesis that the frequently demanded, gradual strengthening of the European Parliament in the political system of the European Union may also have negative consequences for the efficiency of policy-making.