Regional Policy and Planning in Europe

Regional Policy and Planning in Europe

Regional Policy and Planning in Europe

Regional Policy and Planning in Europe

Synopsis

Presenting a comprehensive overview of the economic basis of integration, this book examines the evolution of various systems of government, planning and forms of devolution.

Excerpt

This book is intended to facilitate the study of regional policy and planning, both within the context of the European Union (EU) as a whole and within the individual countries of Europe. During the last decade of the twentieth century, widespread concern was expressed about the integrative role of regional policy and planning in furthering the economic, social and political coherence of Europe. Within the context of the impending formation of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the enlargement of the EU, there was much debate over whether national and regional disparities in living standards and unemployment would be widened or narrowed in the early twenty-first century. Arguably of equal interest were constitutional developments, which were paving the way in many of the countries of Europe to various forms of regional government and regional planning. Whereas it had long been recognised that the competence for regional planning on a continental scale should appropriately be assumed by a supra-national organisation rather than by a loose collection of national states, it was becoming clear that regional planning within individual countries could be handled more effectively by the regions themselves rather than by the centralised state. However, the formation of regional tiers of government and the development of various forms of regional planning were proceeding at a different pace from country to country. Only where cross-border planning was undertaken was there a possibility that a cohesive approach to regional planning would emerge - short of a uniform system of planning being imposed across the EU. Other important considerations included the degree to which investment in transport, information technology and energy would help or hinder the improvement in living standards in the peripheral and other disadvantaged regions, and the extent to which environmental improvement had an impact on regional development. Last, but not least, the economy and environment of urban areas are of considerable concern to policy-makers, particularly since 80 per cent of the population of the EU live in towns and cities rather than in the countryside. Urban areas, however, are inextricably incorporated into the economy of their regions, and consequently their problems often require regional rather than discretely urban solutions.

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