Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU
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Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU

Edited by Simona Piattoni and Laura Polverari

This Handbook covers all major aspects of EU Cohesion policy, one of the most significant areas of intervention of the European Union. Over five parts, It discusses this policy’s history and governing principles; the theoretical approaches from which it can be assessed; the inter-institutional and multi-level dynamics that it tends to elicit; its practical implementation and impact on EU member states; its interactions with other EU policies and strategies; and the cognitive maps and narratives with which it can be associated. An absolute must for all students of the EU.
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Chapter 15: Cohesion policy in the southern periphery

Laura Polverari


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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