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Local development in Europe. Assessment and prospects after the economic crisis

Policy Brief Notre Europe n+21. January 2011

January 2011

To download : PDF (720 KiB)

Languages : français

Summary :

For nearly 20 years, local development has featured among the multitude of instruments of Europe’s cohesion policy. Seen by some as the leading edge of a post-industrial economy, by others as irrelevant and unrealistic, it has in fact been one cause of the unexpected renaissance of certain declining regions. Successfully promoted in the 1990s, local development became

somewhat forgotten at the turn of the century, with attention turning to competitiveness as a response to the challenge of the knowledge economy

and globalisation.

Since mid-2008, the idea of proximity has reemerged in response to the prospect of a long period of economic uncertainty aggravated by major environmental and energy-related challenges. It was in this context that the conclusion of the European Commission’s 5th Cohesion Report highlighted local development as a potential use for structural funds. Local development

has the capacity to strengthen cohesion within certain urban areas, social groups and peripheral regions, and to further achieve the objectives of

the Europe 2020 strategy.

Almost 30 years after the first studies in central Italy and the United Kingdom, what do we know about local development? Why is the European

Union interested? What role has the method played in European regional development? What have we learned about the best policies for supporting

local development? What future does it have in the context of cohesion policy and national economic stimulus policies?