Webinar on Between Re-renationalisation and Hyper-Lisbonisation: the long goodbye to the EU cohesion policy original goals

The third webinar of the 2024 Winter-Spring semester took place on 10 April (11:00 – 12:00) over Zoom with Sébastien Bourdin (EM Normandie Business School),  Alessandra de Renzis (Gran Sasso Science Institute and Tuscany Region) and Francesco Molica (European Commission, Joint Research Centre) who presented “Between re-renationalisation and hyper-Lisbonisation: the long goodbye to the EU cohesion policy original goals”.

The webinar discussed whether the tight sequence of global shocks occurring in 2020 to 2022 (pandemic, war, energy) have influenced the shape and orientation of cohesion policy. It argues that the context of protracted crisis has revived two trends posited in the past, namely the re-nationalisation and Lisbonisation of the policy, in ways that hint at the emergence of a new paradigm. This shift is conceptualised as ‘re-renationalisation’ and ‘hyper- lisbonisation’, whereby the governance of cohesion policy is increasingly state-centric and its priorities more contingent upon the fast-evolving EU agenda. The webinar employs both descriptive and econometric analyses to test this theory concluding that it marks a big leap in the ongoing departure from cohesion policy’s original goals.


Sébastien Bourdin is Professor in Economic Geography at EM Normandie Business School. Holding a PhD in Geography and an Accreditation to Supervise Research, he specializes in the study of the European Union and issues related to Cohesion Policy, Territorial Development, Public Policies Evaluation, and Ecological Transition. In his research, he uniquely combines quantitative methods such as Spatial Econometrics, Statistics, and Modelling– and qualitative methods to provide an in-depth perspective on his favourite topics. Sebastien Bourdin has led several notable research projects on current topics such as Energy Transition and Circular Economy.


Alessandra de Renzis is a civil servant at Tuscany Regional Government with a long-term experience in the implementation of local development strategies through European Cohesion funds. Since 2005 she has been working first for the Rural Development Programme Managing Authority and later for the European Regional Development Fund Operational Programme Managing Authority in the implementation of local development strategies. Her work has focussed on programming, implementation and evaluation initially of LEADER strategies and later of Inner Areas, Urban Development and Smart Specialisation strategies.

From November 2020 she is part of the Cabinet office of the President of the Region where she supports the President of the Region in the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience plan as well as all EU and National cohesion funded programmes. In November 2018 she started a PhD in Urban Studies and Regional Science at Gran Sasso Science Institute in L’Aquila, Italy with a thesis on proximity and territorial development.


Francesco Molica is an economic and policy analyst at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission where his main research activities focuse on Regional Policy, Regional Development, Innovation Policy, EU Studies. Prior to joining the JRC in 2023, he was Director for EU budget and Regional Policy at the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, the largest organisation and think tank representing European regional authorities. He also worked for the European Commission’s DG REGIO and the regional government of Calabria.


The presentation can be accessed here, and the webinar recording can be viewed below or on EPRC’s YouTube page.

You may also be interested in this paper which was mentioned during the presentation.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter, European Policies Research Centre on LinkedIn, or register for our webinar mailing list via marina.murray@strath.ac.uk.

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