The paper describes the possible evolution of the European Union's structural policy in a new policy and budget programming period starting after 2013. The paper consists of an introduction that describes the current situation in this area and follows up with an analysis of conditions resulting from the changing model of the European cohesion policy. A key part of the article is a discussion of some vital problems that should be subject to debate, including the comprehensive nature of structural policy, the 'Lisbonization' of the EU's policies, more effective use of EU funds, territorial cohesion, and the relationship between economic policy and employment in the context of the new structural policy. The authors also define the role of regions and states in this policy and look at the benefits of cohesion policy for environmental protection and natural values. In the final part of the paper, the authors comment on the current organization and course of debate on the reform of cohesion policy and list challenges faced by Poland's policy makers in the context of European policy reform. The analysis takes into account the EU's strategic guidelines included in its key documents such as the 2007 Cohesion Report. The authors look at the matter from a Polish perspective and outline Poland's priorities in the ongoing debate on the need to reform the EU's structural policy.
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