In dealing with regional policy within the EC one must first address the nature of the regional problem itself. Although it has been said that there are as many problems as there are regions within the Community, there appears to be some consensus in identifying four basic types of regional problem. They are: (a) the older (labor-intensive) agricultural area that technology has made redundant, at least for the labor that used to be employed on the land; (b) the industrial area associated with one or two products that have declined due to technology change, imports, or demand shift; (c) the growing center of production that is experiencing significant social costs; and (d) the border areas that have not been developed, even though they might have flourished had the entire region been part of one administrative unit (due to lack of transportation linkages, barriers to commerce, etc.).
Economic theory may be used to examine these issues (especially the first three) in an attempt to generalize "the" regional problem into one of adaptation to change (using comparative statics) with a further dynamic element that may induce regional decline over a very long period of time. The first section will examine this theory, the second will indicate how integration may further affect the problems of depressed areas, the third will examine some of the facts of the formation of the Community on regional growth, and, finally, the fourth section will examine EC policies along with some perceived problems of those policies.
The theory of regional decline includes a comparative statics