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The politicisation of Cohesion Policy. Evidence from Italy, Spain and Poland

Simona Milio
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Simona Milio
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Open Panel

Abstract

Cohesion Policy, today’s largest EU budget expenditure, has been created in 1988. The main goal of the policy is to boost growth, competitiveness and innovation across the EU regions. Over the past 23 years the academic debate on the effectiveness of the policy has been animated by positive and negative evidence attracting the interest of interdisciplinary scholars who have been taking opposite side of the debate. This paper aims to bring evidence to suggest that cohesion policy has been used as a mean for obtaining political consensus at every level, national, regional and local. The findings drawn from 3 different Member states, will demonstrate that EU funding have primarily been spent on those projects which, irrespectively of the economic impact on growth and innovation, have had an impact on personal political gain. Furthermore, the empirical evidence, will support the thesis that the multilevel governance system associated to cohesion policy implementation hinders any form of accountability and increases the politicisation of spending.