What is it about?

'Territorial cohesion' is a concept used by the EU in regional development policy. But, what does it actually mean? More importantly, what do the stakeholders - the programme managers and other officials - who work on regional projects think that 'territorial cohesion' means? We compare answers across the Austrian, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian borders.

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Why is it important?

Cohesion Policy is the EU's second biggest spend after the Common Agricultural Policy. The money is invested into local programmes to help reduce inequalities between regions. But, there are still big differences in prosperity across Europe - and in some places, people are asking "What does the EU do for us?" To better understand why cohesion is such a challenge, we need to go back to the policy itself.

Perspectives

This article began when we met for the first time at the European Week of Regions and Cities. My research was in Wales, where despite high levels of European funding, a majority had voted to leave the EU. Barbara was studying development programmes in Central Europe, where, thirty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, cross-border disparities can still be stark. We joined forces to take a closer look at what was going on - and what the EU could do about it.

Dr Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins
Aberystwyth University

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This page is a summary of: Conceptualisations of Territorial Cohesion in Central European border regions, European Planning Studies, January 2020, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2020.1716692.
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