DP12725 Regional lobbying and Structural funds. Do regional representation offices in Brussels deliver?
In recent years regional representation offices have proliferated in Brussels. Among the many aims of these offices are influencing the allocation and securing the transfer of European Structural and Cohesion funds to their respective regions. However, our knowledge about whether they have succeeded in this goal is limited. In this paper we assess the extent to which regional offices in Brussels have managed to affect the territorial commitment and payment of Structural and Cohesion funds for regional development beyond the main officially stated economic criteria of eligibility. The paper uses a custom-made survey of regional offices in Brussels, complemented by economic, institutional, and political data involving factors that should determine how much money is channelled to and disbursed in each region. The results of the Fixed Effects and Instrumental Variable analyses for a total of 123 regions over the period 2009-2013 highlight that the capacity – proxied by the budget and staff of the office – of the regional representation offices to influence the commitment and payment of Structural and Cohesion funds has been negligible, when not outright negative. Regional lobbying in Brussels does not lead to more funds or to an easier disbursement of regional development funds.