Presentation of EU lagging regions study during the REGI Committee meeting on June 15

What are the EU’s lagging regions and what are the challenges they are facing? What role is cohesion policy playing and what could the EU do to support them better?

These are some of the issues covered by the study on “EU lagging regions: state of play and future challenges”.

During the meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI) on June 15, the authors, Marta Pilati and Alison Hunter from the European Policy Centre (EPC), presented the study’s main findings, eight months after its original publication in October 2020.

In particular, the experts highlighted that current approaches to identifying lagging regions are flawed and proposed a new typology, distinguishing between internally lagging regions, divergent regions and extremely low-growth regions.

A revised typology based on GDP:

A revised typology based on GDP

[Source: study “EU lagging regions: state of play and future challenges]

The authors also stressed the specific challenges lagging regions are facing:  the EU’s triple transition agenda, i.e. the green, digital and industrial transition, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful transitions require that certain capacities are in place, such as skills and know-how, which are generally in short supply in lagging regions, the authors argued. Hence, there is a need to ensure that their specific needs are not overlooked in EU policymaking.

Finally, the authors presented a set of recommendations, based on the findings of the study, on how to provide targeted support to lagging regions in the future through EU cohesion policy and beyond.

A vivid discussion followed. Several members and the Chair took the floor to ask questions and provide comments. In particular, members highlighted the need for a revised definition of lagging regions, taking into account indicators other than GDP such as unemployment, environment, well-being and health; the widening disparities between capital regions and provinces; the need for a stronger cohesion policy; the issue of data availability; and the role of outermost regions.

You want to learn more or share your views with us? Have a look at the study’s main findings:

EU lagging regions: State of play and future challenges

Presentation:

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Watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):


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