National and Regional Patterns of Convergence and Divergence
Edited by John Adams and Francesco Pigliaru
Chapter 11: The European Union's regional development programmes: allocation of funds by basic macroeconomic indicators1
Page 279 11. The European Union’s regional development programmes: allocation of funds by basic macroeconomic indicators1 Gustav Schachter, Carmelina Bevilacqua and Levanto Schachter The European Union (EU) targets investments and loans at subsidiary regions in order to alleviate spatial disparities, with the intent of achieving greater equity and cohesion. Despite modest convergence in regional incomes per capita in the 1960s, a steadfast core–periphery pattern of inequality has persisted, notwithstanding the adoption of a sequence of national and Union policies and appreciable enlargement of the flows of supposedly palliative resources. The objective of this chapter is to see to what extent the allocations of the EU’s regional development funds and official loans have followed simple macroeconomic characteristics of the regions. Because official efforts at securing better spatial balance in the EU’s subsidiary economies have not succeeded, alternative allocation criteria may need to be identified. OVERVIEW OF EU POLICIES AND DISPARITIES A commitment to a regionally predicated policy was made at the 1972 Conference of the European Council, which issued a call for action to diminish spatial imbalances. To abet intervention, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was created in 1975 and the Social Fund followed in 1989. The adoption of the Single European Act in 1987 took into account the obduracy of interregional divergence; therefore, it directed the Union and the member states to work towards economic cohesion. Resources have thereafter increased: they doubled from ECU 7.2 billion in 1987 to ECU 14.5 billion in 1995. The Single European Act...
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