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From regional deficit to institutional overload? : regional policy in the Czech Republic

Mcmaster, Irene (2004) From regional deficit to institutional overload? : regional policy in the Czech Republic. Working paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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The aims of this paper are to explore the way in which institutional and programming structures involved in regional economic policy have evolved in the Czech Republic and to provide an early assessment of their achievements. It will identify the progress made and the remaining challenges. The analysis draws on the results of a yearlong study of the changing role of the region in the processes of regional economic restructuring in Poland and the Czech Republic. In addition to an extensive policy and literature review, interviews were conducted with relevant organisations and actors at the national and regional levels during 2003.The paper first outlines the course of the regional debate in the Czech Republic as a backdrop to an assessment of recent reforms at central and regional levels. These changes continue to be contested by different forces, and there is disagreement about issues such as the role and status of regional authorities, the relative position of newly established actors in the regional policy field and the funding of devolved functions. The analysis concludes that regionalism has been enhanced by the development of an institutional and programming framework where new horizontal and vertical relationships between central Ministries, regional units and other agencies and actors involved in regional development are forged. Yet, it must also be noted that this process is fragile and the emerging framework could be undermined by lack of public finances, constrained by the requirements of Structural Fund programming and implementation and lack of institutional co-ordination and co-operation.