The increasing dominance of neoliberalism as the key steering mechanism of the European Union (EU) since the early 1990s has implied the competitiveness-oriented reshaping of cohesion policy. The aim of this paper is to initiate a debate from a critical political economic perspective on the implications of this shift for Central Eastern European (CEE) member states. To this end, the paper discusses the formation of EU centre-periphery relations from a CEE point of view and formulates some preliminary suggestions as to how cohesion policy would need to be rethought in order to ensure the better integration of lagging CEE regions.
EU cohesion policy, EU integration, centre–periphery, Lisbonization, place-based development, Central Eastern Europe (CEE), Visegrad Group (V4)
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