Chapter 15: Cohesion policy in the southern periphery
This chapter discusses the implementation of Cohesion policy in the southern member states (MSs) of the European Union: Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain. Together these countries account for more than a quarter of the European population (25.63 per cent) and almost 22 per cent of the EU28 aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) (2014 data). They are rather diverse in terms of the territorial development challenges faced, regional policy traditions and institutional set-up. Malta and Cyprus, which joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, are small island economies with marginal regional disparities. The main goal of Cohesion policy in these countries has been to assist national growth. Greece and Portugal, with their circa 10 million inhabitants each, face challenges of territorial balance, related predominantly to the polarisation of development in the capital regions and along the Attika–Thessaloniki (in Greece) and coastland–inland (in Portugal) axes. However, rather than overcoming regional disparities, the primary concern of economic and regional policies in these countries has also been the desire to enhance national growth. Italy and Spain, on the other hand, are large states with historically rooted regional imbalances. The main focus of Cohesion policy here has been the development of lagging regions.
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