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Of Funds and Values: The Rule of Law conditionality: A politicization of the European Union Cohesion Policy?


  • Erlend Malmer

Summary, in English

This research looks at if the Cohesion Policy is politicized, by looking at the newly proposed Rule of Law conditionality attached to funding, and what this signifies for European Integration. As the conditionality adds to the fold of an ever-increasing amount of internal EU conditionality attached to EU funding since 2014, this paper re-tools Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier’s external incentive model, and finds that there is a politicization of the Cohesion Policy. Furthermore, the research argues that it is Member States who are the agenda-setters for increased internal conditionalities and that European Commission acts on this politicization to serve a broad public interest. This research has found that it is a polarization of interests and values between the net-contributors and rule of law upholders, and net-receivers and rule of law breakers, attesting to that the policy is politicized. This paper found cleavages between political left/right on the issue and showcases geographical cleavages between Member States. In assessing what this politicization means for European integration, Liberal Intergovernmentalism was found best suited to explain the push for the proposal of a rule of law condition attached to funds and further discusses the role of Member States in European Integration and finds that in this case are the drivers of European Integration. Findings also include that net-contributing Member States prefer a more federal EU expenditure structure, to avoid national welfare losses.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences
  • Law and Political Science


  • European Union
  • EU budget
  • Cohesion Policy
  • European Structural and Investment fund
  • Politicization
  • Conditionality
  • Rule of Law
  • Illiberalism
  • European Studies


  • Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Biträdande Lektor)