Keywords: Cohesion Policy; Inter-Territorial Solidarity; European Social Policy; European Integration; Conditionality.
In recent years, the scholarly literature has increasingly focused on the relation between cohesion policy and the process of European Integration. This article proposes to conceptualize cohesion policy starting from the idea of inter-territorial solidarity. From this perspective, cohesion policy contributes to the objective of the EU by assisting in sharing among territories and Member States both the wealth created by the European Integration process and the responsibilities involved, by deciding «who» gets «what» and under which conditions. Accordingly, the concept can be divided into its three constitutive semantic dimensions: eligibility, redistribution, and conditionality. The concept so divided is then used to empirically investigate the institutional change of cohesion policy in the period 1988-2013; the empirical findings are then compared with the theories on the institutional change involving cohesion policy, acknowledging the presence of a strengthened link between cohesion policy and EMU on one hand and European Social Policy on the other hand.