Chapter 5: Cohesion, Coherence, Cooperation: EU Policy Beyond Hard Territoriality
1 Andreas Faludi Regional policy is a flagship policy of the European Union (EU). At the same time it bears witness to its ambivalence apparent also in foreign, energy and defence policy. The ambivalence in regional policy is about the EU’s territoriality. Sack (1986, 19) defines territoriality as: ‘a spatial strategy to affect, influence, or control resources and people, by controlling area’. Clearly, EU regional policy is such a spatial strategy, but it is not like the ‘hard’ territoriality of nation-states. Rather, regional policy, and the territoriality of the EU generally: ‘is qualitatively different . . . in part precisely because it does not have the option of physical force. It is marked, rather, by the aspirational sense of the production of a space where inequalities are evened out’ (Bialasiewicz et al. 2005, 345–6). The aim of EU regional policy is thus to promote what is also called cohesion. The Single European Act of the mid-1980s thus stipulated a Community objective2 of economic and social cohesion. Presently, territorial cohesion, about which more below, is presented as their complement. Cohesion is a concept underlying the Structural Funds, in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). From Article 174 of the Libson treaty3 we can infer that cohesion is indeed aspirational in that it refers to an as yet non-existent state of harmonious development of the Community, in which it has succeeded in terms often repeated in the treaties, this is an, as yet non-existent state of harmonious development in which there has been...
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