A central aim of the Regional Policy of the European Union is a regional cohesion. Major instruments are regional policy programs financed via various European funds. The allocation of regional policy funds varies dramatically across regions even when one controls for regional development indicators. Thus, what political economy factors determine the access to financial support of regional policy funds? With this regard, the paper highlights the role of local government performance. Beyond, it is tested for spatial dependencies, e.g. if knowledge spillovers determine the ability to capture regional funds. Pars pro toto empirical analyses focus on the allocation of SAPARD funds in Slovakia using cross-section as well as panel data. The government performance is measured as a technical efficiency of local public good provision and derived within a non-parametric DEA approach. Results show that the government efficiency has a positive significant impact on the structural funding allocation. Furthermore, spatial dependencies occur. With respect to the program duration, it is concluded that knowledge spillovers take place, supporting a successfully program participation.