Relocation of economic activities towards cheap labor cost countries, the enlargement of the EU and the difficulties of lagging regions in closing the gap with the wealthiest areas of Europe have called for a redefinition of regional development strategies and priorities at the EU level. The ESDP has provided a voluntary basis for European Member states to apply a polycentric approach to spatial and local economic development aiming to reduce the marginalization of peripheral and lagging areas. However, since 1999 the application of the ESDP has been controversial and an accurate analysis shows that the EU documents concerned with spatial planning and regional development suffer from a strong ambiguity in the choice of the development model (either neoliberal or solidaristic economy) both within Europe and in relation with Third countries. Through the analysis of selected good practices in the periphery of Europe the paper provides evidences of the experiences that have followed and applied the principle of polycentrism stated in the ESDP and show that polycentric development is a feasible and low cost strategy for the European peripheries.
Regional Udvikling; Local Development; European Spatial Development Perspective; Regional Development
Main Research Area:
THE ESDP: SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT OF PERIPHERAL REGIONS, 2006