Does cross-border cooperation empower European regions? The case of INTERREG III-A France – Spain
In this paper we investigate the impact of the implementation of EU programmes on substate actors, and more specifically regional ones. We focus on the case of the INTERREG cross-border initiative in France and Spain between 2000 and 2003, and whether INTERREG succeeded in empowering regional governments and local authorities as it initially claimed to. Our analysis puts to the fore that this programme has not evolved from being ‘a policy for the regions to a policy by the regions’ as many expected, but that its implementation rather reveals a wide range of configurations. Indeed, the execution of INTERREG facilitated the transition from a state-centric scheme to a regionalised one only in those territories where a previous decentralisation policy had been realised at the domestic level and where a consistent regional leadership had emerged during earlier versions of INTERREG.
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