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Rationale and design of EU cohesion policies in a period of crisis

By: Camagni, R. & Capello, R. (2015)

The aim of the paper is a reflection on justifications and proper design of cohesion policies in a period of deep economic recession. In particular, the paper tackles two important topics. The first deals with the justification for EU regional policies in a period of economic downturn, since they may look less urgent and appropriate than short term demand policies. Instead, as the paper argues, the crisis exerts considerable pressure on several EU countries, and may even, in the worst case, jeopardize two decades of efforts towards EU enlargement and cohesion. In this condition, regional policies are called to rebalance the spatial effects that the ongoing crisis is determining on interregional convergence trends. The second topic relates to the most appropriate design that cohesion policies should follow. The message that the paper conveys from a conceptual point of view, corroborated by empirical results, is that the winning strategy is neither to focus on champion places and regions, in search of the highest efficiency, nor on lagging areas, in search equity; policies designed on each regions’ specificities, competitive advantage and needs are the right policies, able to engage all possible assets and enlarge excellences.

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