Cohesion Policy and the citizens’ perceptions of the EU: the role of communication and implementation

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EU Cohesion Policy has arguably the most tangible impact on the citizens’ environment and livelihoods and can potentially boost their attachment to the European project. Beyond the cross-national transactionalist hypothesis, Cohesion Policy spending has a local impact and may affect the lives of citizens who do not benefit directly from cross-national transactions, like education, work, investment and travel in other European countries. One could thus expect that Cohesion Policy has a significant positive impact on the ways in which citizens perceive the EU. But what happens when a country is a net contributor to the EU’s budget receiving a relatively small amount of Cohesion Policy funding, the bulk of it being invested in poorer European territories? Building on the cases of two Dutch regions–Flevoland and Limburg–this paper investigates the extent to which the citizens are aware of Cohesion Policy interventions and how the features of communication on and implementation of Cohesion Policy affect this awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-843
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Volume29 (2021)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cohesion Policy
  • EU identification
  • EU support
  • European Union
  • the Netherlands


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