The Regional Policy of the European Union and the Enlargement Process to Central and Eastern European Countries
The successive enlargement processes of the European Union have implied reforms in Regional Policy. Since the Single European Act (1987), Europe has got a structural policy mainly focused on regions whose development is lagging behind. The accession of CEECs will mean an extraordinary increase in regional development disparities. However, the current EU Regional Policy is addressed to deal with such a kind of development lags. Competition in a large market combined with regional development policy of the EU is a successful policy mix to boost growth of CEECs in the framework of an open market economy. The own success of regional policy in current objective 1 regions will led to an important reduction of assisted population. The financial perspectives approved in the Berlin Summit (March 1999) provides enough financial space to assist 90% of population in CEECs and 75% of current population under objective 1. The main challenge involved in the successful extension of EU Regional Policy to CEECs lies in the field of management capabilities and administration reforms that must be carried out in these countries.
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