Regional policy has long focused on the dual goals of growth and equality. Debates on the compatibility of these two objectives have sharpened in the context of low economic growth and rising inequalities, and are shaping policy decisions at EU, national and regional levels. The fall-out from the 2008-09 crisis continues to influence regional policy debates, by generating new economic challenges, constraining public expenditure, and increasing demands for policy effectiveness.
A further driver of regional policy change in 2014-15 has been the roll-out of EU regional state aid control and Cohesion policy for 2014-20, with a particular impact on geography, funding and instruments. The process of launching new schemes and revising existing frameworks is continuing in many countries. Moreover, country-specific factors (including the election of new governments and the influence of broader institutional frameworks) also continue to shape regional policy systems.
In this context, this report provides a comparative overview of the current situation and recent changes in regional development policies across 30 European countries (i.e. the EU28, Norway and Switzerland). It explores how individual countries fit within the broader European picture by assessing the current situation and recent changes.