The European Union “promotes territorial cohesion and solidarity between the member states”, says the final draft of the Lisbon Treaty. The mention of this new objective leads Jean-François Drevet to investigate the concept of territorial cohesion, “which is still little used at the European level”. After outlining the policies implemented in this field nationally in countries like Germany, Switzerland and France, and taking account of both their positive aspects and their unintended consequences, Drevet examines the mechanisms of solidarity at work across the European Union.
In his view, the community budget currently has too little redistributive capacity — net transfers between member states are said to represent only a quarter of the European budget — and has proved “incapable of playing a major role in economic stimulus policies”. This is a situation that ‘brings increasing risks (particularly in a period of economic and financial crisis) for the stability of the Euro zone”. It is essential, then, concludes Drevet, that this new objective of territorial cohesion should become one of Europe’s priorities.
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