Cohesion's challenges: What can be learned from Wales?

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


What lessons can Cymru Wales – a constituent country of the UK that is neither a region, nor quite a state – offer for Cohesion policy? Wales is a net beneficiary of European funds, with one of two NUTS2 regions within the country eligible for the highest levels of Cohesion funding since 2000. Funding has been celebrated by the devolved Welsh government, yet continued eligibility has also read as an indictment – and in 2016 a Welsh majority voted to leave the EU. This paper approaches the puzzle of the apparent failure of Cohesion in Wales through a ‘policy mobilities’ perspective. It draws from a small-scale case study of Welsh government actors to examine how Cohesion policy has travelled from a European to a Welsh sphere. Interviews (n=9) demonstrate how funding mechanisms have become detached from the Cohesion context in Wales, where spatial inequalities are understood and politically navigated in local terms. Although uneven development is seen as significant within Wales, there is little desire to ‘measure up’ against European regions through economic indicators. Reflecting on the Welsh case, this paper suggests three potential avenues for Cohesion policy futures: 1) promoting Cohesion to regional policy audiences; 2) fusing Cohesion with meaningful regional policy languages; 3) integrating principles of spatial justice to enable more regionally-determined approaches to in/equalities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
EventEuropean Week of Regions Masterclass - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 08 Oct 201811 Oct 2018


CourseEuropean Week of Regions Masterclass
Period08 Oct 201811 Oct 2018


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