Chapter 14: The impact of Cohesion policy on regionalist parties’ positions on European integration
This chapter analyses the impact of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) on the attitudes of regionalist parties towards the process of European integration. The authors consider three distinct funding periods: 1989_1993, 1994_1999 and 2000_2006. The chapter shows that the regionalist party family have been overwhelmingly Europhile in the first and second period, while they have shown a clear turn towards Euroscepticism in the latter period. However, the Eurosceptic turn is not linked to changes in the ERDF. In fact, the authors find a positive effect of the relative share of ERDF on regionalist parties’ level of support for European integration. In particular, their data suggest that the ERDF has been an important facilitator for the spreading of Europhile positions in the first period analysed (1989_1993) and has represented a kind of barrier against the diffusion of Eurosceptic positions in the last period analysed (2000_2006). The migration of ERDF funding from Western to Central and Eastern European member states, therefore, can further undermine the capacity of the EU to maintain the loyalty of this small but still important party family.
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