From Darling to Stepchild? European Peripheral Regions under an EU Regional Policy Turning from Convergence to Competitiveness
MetadataShow full item record
Most socio-economic activities take place in a few European centre regions, resulting in the fact that those areas located at the European edge often lag behind in terms of economic growth, innovation capacity and population dynamics. Whereas for a long time, EU regional policy has mainly functioned as an equalising system balancing out this uneven development, the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda has initiated a new focus within EU regional policy. An increased concern for international competitiveness has led to major policy changes, focussing on the creation and realisation of potentials. Possibly, this development can lead to a widening of the gap between central and peripheral regions. It was assumed that this would result in a strong rejection of the competitiveness and growth approach from the side of the European periphery. At hand of in-depth interviews with regional representatives working for peripheral regions in Brussels, the question has been answered whether peripheral regions perceive the changes focus in EU regional policy as a threat. Interestingly, a strong rejection of the competitiveness and growth focus could not be observed, even though a continuation of the equity element in regional policy is also considered as extremely necessary and desirable. In conclusion, the European peripheral regions favour the continuation of regional policy by the EU, based on the two complementary pillars of equity and competitiveness.