European Regional Policy, an inspiration for Countries outside the EU? Applying the principles, sharing the lessons, exchanging experience

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Period : 2007-2013
Date : 08/03/2009

In global terms while the European Union remains a centre of considerable wealth and economic strength, the pattern of development is very uneven so that economic and social disparities remain substantial, and have increased after recent enlargements. For example the poorest region before 2004 was at a level of some two thirds (67%) of average Gross domestic product per head. After the accession of the ten new Member States the poorest region was at a level of less than one third (28%) of the EU average. Again, 43% of EU economic output is generated in just 14% of the EU’s territory – the geographical pentagon of high value-added production formed by London, Hamburg, Munich, Milan and Paris, home to about one-third of its population. Luxembourg, the wealthiest Member State in terms of per-capita income, is now seven times richer than the poorest one, Romania and at regional level the differences are even greater.

This is not so far removed from the patterns observed in China and India. In both the latter countries, the region with the highest GDP per capita has a level seven times higher than the least-developed region. In China more than 60% of GDP is generated in just 4% of the territory.

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