How Covid-19 impacted the European integration processes? The case of EU Cohesion Policy and budget

TitleHow Covid-19 impacted the European integration processes? The case of EU Cohesion Policy and budget
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMusiałkowska, I., & Idczak P.
Book TitleTowards the „new normal” after COVID-19 – a post-transition economy perspective
EditionEwa Mińska-Struzik, Barbara Jankowska
PublisherPoznań University of Economics and Business Press
KeywordsCovid-19, EU budget, EU cohesion policy, European integration, multiannual financial framework

Purpose: The current pandemic crisis caused by Covid-19 significantly impacted the processes of European integration. The European Union decided to act within and beyond existing competences and instruments to support the efforts of its Member States, along with regional and local authorities, in the fight against Covid-19. Our study sheds light on the instruments and solutions proposed within the framework of the cohesion and budget policy to tackle the problems related to Covid-19 in Europe. The analysis focuses on two strands: 1) EU assistance offered through cohesion policy (CP) instruments toward above areas; 2) the future evolution of EU budget, and therefore integration shifts, provoked by the Covid-19 crisis.

Design/methodology/approach: The study analyzes statistical data with regard to the use of instruments of the Cohesion Policy under the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the amendments introduced to legal acts and decision-making processes that refer to the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021–2027.

Findings: We notice a strong shift of priorities regarding environment transformation, digitalization, and health protection, reflected in the MFF. The coordinative role of European institutions and the redirection of different financial instruments to health care follows the neofunctionalist paradigm and represents a spillover effect resulting from integration. The crisis analyzed from the institutional perspective is seen as a chance to reform the decision-making process, while on the other hand, as a threat to the inclusive integration of all Member States.

Originality and value: The paper is an original contribution on the overall use of both financial and legislative instruments in the times of unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19 in the European Union. The text can be a valuable insight for both researchers and practitioners in the field of broadly understood European studies.

Refereed DesignationRefereed