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 31: The territoriality of Cohesion policy

Andreas Faludi


Territoriality makes EU Cohesion policy into a battle ground. The struggle is over the size and targeting of funds, including its targeting in space which raises issues of state sovereignty. The underlying assumption is one of ‘absolutistic territorialism’, whereas social science thinking promotes ‘relativist constructivism’ allowing for compromise. The ensuing struggle sees European Commission initiatives concerning Cohesion policy being countered by the reassertion of state territoriality. This becomes manifest in multilevel governance. The underlying issueis whether representative democracy operating on the assumption of absolutistic territorialism can deal with functional interdependencies implying new cross-border configurations, and with this, relativist constructionism.

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