Cities and countryside: a different perception of Europe

04/09/2017 | University of Portsmouth | Research | WP4

Cities and countryside: a different perception of Europe

Voting preferences on Brexit showed a great divide between rural and urban areas. Should the European Union reconsider its approach and lean towards less spatially blind policies? This is still an open debate, yet it has to be clearly addressed in the future. Read on to find out more about our research findings from University of Portsmouth's team.

To what extent do disadvantaged regions attract more cohesion and rural policies funding?

This is an ongoing debate both on theoretical and empirical ground. At the European Union level, different positions have been registered over time. PERCEIVE project finds that some evidence of synergy in focusing on more disadvantaged territories arises between given policy categories (for example, between subsidies on crops and energy expenditure). This opens interesting questions about the peculiar policy mix generating such a positive synergy and to what extent eventually the virtuous paradigm can be extended to other policy realms.


Are there significant synergies between cohesion and rural policies?

Unfortunately, our preliminary results from the project show that there is no significant relationship between total expenditure from Cohesion Policy and Rural Policy. However, these results might as well be contingent on the programming period and further analysis could display different patterns.


To what extent synergies coincide with most disadvantaged regions?

The preliminary findings of PERCEIVE show that structurally disadvantaged regions do attract expenditure synergies between Total Rural Policy expenditure and Total Cohesion Policy. More generally, the combined results of the empirical analysis provide evidence to support the presence of ‘pro-cohesionpolicies that provide a cumulative impact and are focussed on structurally disadvantaged regions.


To what extent these findings provide insights on Brexit spatial preferences?

Undeniably, the combined issues about the spatial distribution and the interaction of the effects of the EU policy are crucial in the process of shaping the citizensperception of the EU. Concerning the United Kingdom’s case, this is confirmed, for example, by the sharp divide between cities and the countryside in the preferences about Brexit as expressed in the June 2016 referendum. The countryside expressed a strong preference about Brexit with 55% voting for Brexit, while cities such as Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, Liverpool and London expressed a strong preference for remaining in the EU. The exact drivers shaping citizens preferences in this respect are still under analysis.


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