EU Cohesion Policy promotes European identity

A new article by Gabriela Borz, Heinz Brandenburg and Carlos Mendez, funded by the Horizon 2020 COHESIFY project, investigates the role of EU Cohesion Policy in the development of European identity. Drawing on a large survey of citizens in 17 EU regions, the study finds that EU Cohesion Policy contributes to European identity while controlling for a range of other drivers of identity. Citizens that perceive benefits for themselves and for their region’s development from EU Cohesion Policy are more likely to develop a European identity. The study also find that awareness of the EU Cohesion Fund and exposure to publicity on EU funded projects is positively correlated with European identity. However, while Cohesion Policy contributes to citizens’ self-categorization as European, it does not associate with citizens’ emotional attachment to Europe. The study has important implications for understanding European identity formation and communicating the benefits and role of the EU in regional policy.

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