The ongoing process of European integration is likely to increase trade and factor mobility thereby increasing interregional competition and affecting the interregional division of labor. From a theoretical standpoint, rising specialization and polarization of European regions may result from this process, and may entail a growing core-periphery-divide of regional income. Such a supposition evokes questions on the need of an accompanying compensatory regional policy and its adequate design. I find that a case for regional policy cannot be denied, but that the EU largely overstates the need for such a policy at EU level, and should abstain from direct structural interventions into regional economies.
regional policy regional specialization regional polarization EU structural policy integration