Basic assumptions of the EU's new cohesion policy for the years 2007-2013 will be probably worked out by the end of 2003. Based on the current debate, one may assume that they will not contain any breakthrough changes. Corrections to the existing system might include introduction of transition periods for regions which for statistical reasons will no longer be eligible for structural assistance. The future cohesion policy will probably proceed in two principal directions. One will primarily encompass assistance to regions whose economy is lagging behind with a view to achieving a greater cohesion on the territory of the European Union. The other will be increasingly involved with the implementation of the Lisbon strategy, particularly with the development of knowledge-based economy and achievement of the so-called sustainable development. It is highly probable that the cohesion policy will be somewhat decentralised in favour of individual countries and regions. Key decisions in this area will be taken by the present member states before Poland joins the EU. Still, since Poland is the largest country among the new members of the enlarged Union, its voice would certainly be heard during the decision-making process. One should bear in mind that the new regional policy will be operating to a large extent precisely to serve Poland's developmental needs. This is why it is extremely important for the Polish government to join the debate on the shape of the new cohesion policy.