In the light of the theoretical debate on whether convergence is
being achieved while being targeted through the EU funds, this
thesis analyzes the results of cohesion policy in Ireland, which is
the "best pupil in the class" and Italy, where South after two
decades still lags behind the North. Although the scholars have,
while researching the implementation of the policy in the new
members, identified administrative capacities as one of the most
important determinants, in the case of old members the importance
of the administrative capacities is rather under-researched. In
closing this gap, the hypothesis tested in the thesis is that Irish
administrative capacities being on a consolidated level provide for
a crucial factor enabling funds utilization. Moreover, the thesis
identifies additional factors explaining for Irish success and the
relative lack of convergence between more and less developed
regions, as well as the issues which have caused failure in funds
absorption in Italy. Finally, the analysis shows that although the
EU funds can bring economic growth and convergence, it is necessary
to use them transparently and in the overall market and competition
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