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 framework.