Webinar on EU Cohesion Policy in France: Lessons and Challenges

The sixteenth EPRC webinar of 2021, and the fourth of this Autumn/Winter semester, was held November 24th (11:00 – 12:00 UK) over Zoom. Sébastien Bourdin, Professor at EM Normandy Business School, presented on the topic “EU Cohesion Policy in France: Lessons and Challenges”.

Bourdin delved on the investment priorities in the French programmes for Cohesion Policy, and on how Smart Specialisation strategies have changed the territorial governance of projects. He further reflected on the future challenges faced by governance actors for the 2021-27 programme period.

Bourdin discussed the high level of disparity in regional development and innovation in France, with good performance concentrated in Paris. The study identified challenges related to Cohesion Policy in the Country, namely:

  • Lack of communication of the impact of European Structural Funds;
  • Lack of political interest, with no ministry of EU funds having been created;
  • General disinterest or rejection of the European Union, related to France being a net contributor.

On Smart Specialisation, Bourdin argues that while there has been a wide adoption of related methodologies (e.g., quadruple helix model), there have been challenges associated to the territorial governance of the strategies. This includes insufficient management capacity and restrictive drafting of programme and implementation documents. Bourdin emphasises that there is a need to strengthen articulation and synergies with other support schemes and to include more diverse stakeholders in the process.

Sébastien Bourdin is Professor in economic geography at EM NORMANDY BUSINESS SCHOOL in France. He holds a PhD in geography and a Habilitation to Supervise Research. His research focuses on economic geography and regional science. More specifically, he is a specialist of the European Union, territorial development, public policies, and the circular economy. In his research, Sébastien Bourdin uses quantitative methods (spatial econometrics, statistics, modelling) and qualitative methods. He has led several research projects on cohesion policy on the one hand, and energy transition and the circular economy on the other.

Bourdin’s presentation can be accessed here.

Our next webinar will take place Wednesday December 8th, when Ratka Čolić, Assistant Professor at the University of Belgrade, will present on the “Territorial Governance in Serbia”.

Future EPRC webinars will delve on topics of sustainability, regional policy and development. The series will come back in February 2022. Please see the present schedule for this year here.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter, or register for our webinar mailing list through marie.c.devine@strath.ac.uk.

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