20 Jun 2024

The EU regional policy and regional policy challenges in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic, Montenegro and Serbia

The book focuses on sharing experiences and knowledge from Visegrad group countries with Montenegro and Serbia, aiming to aid the entire Western Balkans region. It evaluates the readiness of these candidate countries for EU membership, specifically in relation to Chapter 22, which deals with regional policy and coordination of structural instruments.

Key points include:

  1. EU Regional Policy Objectives:

    • Economic and Social Cohesion: The primary goal is to reduce disparities between regions within the EU, enhancing economic and social cohesion. This includes financial support for projects that aim to close the development gaps between regions.
    • Regional Competitiveness: The policy seeks to increase the competitiveness of regions to ensure that the EU remains globally competitive. This involves investments in infrastructure, innovation, and digital technologies to boost regional economies.
    • European Territorial Cooperation: This aspect of the policy promotes cooperation between EU regions, encouraging joint projects and partnerships that foster regional development and cohesion across borders.
  2. Importance for Candidate Countries:

    • Balanced and Sustainable Development: The EU regional policy is essential for promoting balanced and sustainable development across all member states and candidate countries. It helps address regional disparities and supports economic, social, and territorial cohesion.
    • Integration Path: For candidate countries like Montenegro and Serbia, the policy is vital in their European integration path. It ensures that these countries can align with EU standards and practices, thereby contributing to their overall development and integration into the EU.
  3. Negotiating Chapter 22:

    • Framework Regulations: Chapter 22 contains the framework regulations that define the rules for preparing and implementing operational programmes funded by European Structural and Investment Funds. These regulations take into account the territorial organization of each country, ensuring that funds are used effectively to support regional development.
    • Operational Programmes: The chapter outlines how candidate countries should develop and execute operational programmes that will be financed by the EU. This includes setting priorities, allocating resources, and implementing projects that align with EU cohesion policy objectives.

In the chapter The EU Regional Policy: experiences and recommendations from Poland team of researchers from CASE - Martyna Gliniecka and Jagoda Szmytkowska - write about the findings about EU accession preparation and process in Poland, allocation and the management of the subsequent funding periods and the recommendations for Member States of Montenegro and Serbia for their accession period.

In summary, the book underscores the strategic importance of the EU regional policy for candidate countries. It highlights how harmonizing with the EU acquis and focusing on effective local implementation can ensure balanced regional development, foster economic growth, and improve the quality of life for citizens across the European Union and candidate countries in the Western Balkans.


Read the paper