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Cristina Ares

Data demonstrate an association between political dissatisfaction and the so-called places that hadn’t traditionally mattered in terms of public investments and policy prioritization. Socioeconomic heterogeneity within the European Community (EC) / European Union (EU) has been broader at the regional level than at the national level, which is partially why a regional development policy was established. This chapter offers an overview of the European Regional Development Policy (ERDP) in the programming period 2014–2020 as well as an examination of its transformation over time. The main changes introduced in this policy are linked to the accession of Southern and Eastern Member States, the limited size of the EU budget, and the Great Recession. At least rhetorically, the foundational focus on regional and national convergence has been substituted with an emphasis on fostering innovation to improve the competitiveness of the EU economy. This reorientation is problematic from the point of view of political equality and consequently EU discontent.