Regional Policies After 2006 : Complementarity Or Conflict?

Bachtler, John and Wishlade, Fiona and Yuill, Douglas (2003) Regional Policies After 2006 : Complementarity Or Conflict? University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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The future development of regional policy in an enlarged EU cannot be viewed simply from a national perspective but needs to consider the inter-relationships between national regional policies, EU regional policy and EU competition policy. Recent policy developments have been characterised by tensions between these areas of policy, associated with differing policy objectives and a contested division of responsibilities. This paper has four main objectives: to examine the evolution of national regional policies in the Member States; to consider the future challenges for the Structural Funds; to assess possible future directions for EU competition policy; and to pose questions as to whether and how these different components of regional policy might best be reconciled post 2006. The paper concludes by arguing that greater conflict is by no means inevitable and that a fundamental review of policy objectives, policy focus, policy responsibilities and the relationship between policy instruments and regulatory frameworks could, in fact, improve the complementarity of the policy areas rather than heighten tensions.