Regional Integration and Cohesion: Lessons for ASEAN from Spain and Ireland in the EU
The academic literature on regional integration suggests that the impact of integration is unevenly spread among countries and regions. There is, therefore, a case for some redistributive mechanism, and this is what the EU Structural Fundstries to do. This article considers the role of the EU Structural Funds in Spain and Ireland, of which both countries were major beneficiaries, in facilitating the regional economic adjustment and reducing regional disparities. The article suggests that there were positive redistributive effects, as well as growth effects, but concludes that national, institutional and political configurations determine the distinctive outcome in the two cases. Finally, it considers the wider lessons for regional integration in ASEAN, a regional community of countries with diversity in the levels of regional development.