This textbook by two leading experts looks at the realities and controversies of the European Union's cohesion policy: how effective it is, who it impacts, and what it says about the EU's governance at a wider level. At a time when more EU projects connected with cohesion policy are underway than ever before, and much of Europe is still responding to the effects of the global and eurozone crises, it is important to assess how the policy is benefiting eligible member states, and how it is perceived by European citizens. Taking account of recent developments as well as the changing priorities of the Commission and national governments across time, this comprehensive text is both up-to-date and historically grounded. It considers all aspects of the policy such as the criteria for eligibility; how it is funded; its role in strategies for development, growth and competitiveness; and how it is planned, implemented and evaluated. Furthermore, it examines how contemporary political and economic factors, such as the continuing influence of Germany in Europe and the growing north-side divide, will shape the future of cohesion policy.