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‘SMART’ REGIONS LEADING RECOVERY? POST-CRISIS EU-AUSTRALIA COMPARATIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Professor Bruce Wilson, European Union Centre at RMIT European Union.

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Presentation on theme: "‘SMART’ REGIONS LEADING RECOVERY? POST-CRISIS EU-AUSTRALIA COMPARATIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Professor Bruce Wilson, European Union Centre at RMIT European Union."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘SMART’ REGIONS LEADING RECOVERY? POST-CRISIS EU-AUSTRALIA COMPARATIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Professor Bruce Wilson, European Union Centre at RMIT European Union Centre at RMIT University Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2 Overview The different policy contexts: EU and Australia Regional development ‘policy’ in Australia Evolving Regional Policy in the EU: the importance of ‘smart specialisation strategies’ Prospects for EU, prospects for regional development policy in Australia? RMIT University©2010 European Union Centre 2

3 Different Policy Contexts: EU and Australia This paper, this conference: what does EU Regional (and Urban) Policy offer to the prospects of the EU? A perspective framed from an Australian lens… The immediacy of crisis in Europe: Regional Policy as direct intervention, cf fiscal governance and infrastructure Crisis in Australia?... less immediate, equally as profound for country Australians Timely question, post-election: “Our Plan for Regional Australia” RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 3

4 Regional Development Context in Australia Policies for regions, or regional policy? Whose regional development policy: Federal? State? Local? … or ‘regional’? Dilemmas of governance… ‘Patchwork’ regions: someone else’s boom, our bust… Drought, national competition policy (widespread preoccupation with efficiency/competitiveness), disenfranchisement: a crisis for country Australians? RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 4

5 Regional Development ‘Policy’ in Australia Regional policy in Australia has been confused notoriously, subject to political largesse Post-war decentralisation (Chifley, Whitlam) Local employment initiatives, community-based action Regional Partnerships Program, Regional Development Australia: persistent principle of localism Coalition 2013: ‘practical support for regional economies’ – “communities leverage their assets to achieve new economic opportunities”. RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 5

6 Evolution of EU Regional Policy 1968 Directorate General Regional Policy 1975 European Regional Development Fund 1985 Integrated Mediterranean Programmes 1988 Delors: legislative, financing, regulatory reforms 1993 Cohesion Fund Doubling of resources for Cohesion Policy 2006 Major reform, 3 objectives: - Convergence - Regional competitiveness and employment - Territorial cohesion Regional Policy = 36 per cent of EU budget RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 6

7 Regional Policy Achievements, ,000 jobs created directly by Regional Policy projects; significant investments in innovation (6,000 business research-cooperation projects, 24,000 business start-ups, and support for over 100,000 SMEs); 920,000 people connected to broadband; 280k of roads and 285k of rail; 1.5 million connected to clean drinking water and 3.3 million to main drainage THEN: Fiscal crisis, increasing unemployment, focus on Europe 2020 as a strategic framework RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 7

8 Reframing, Focusing Regional Policy Cohesion Policy (and Agriculture) identified at outset as critical resources for growth Further review of learning, both management and operational Careful study (with OECD) of emerging global economic processes and structures: opportunities for intervention in global value chains Tighter framing of priorities, clear targets and stronger alignment of EU and MS action RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 8

9 EU Regional Policy ( ) ‘ Smart Specialisation Strategies’ (entrepreneurial discovery): Link actions to objectives in order to: Ensure differentiation and unique position in the market of the activities carried out in the region, based on the resources and capacities available… Ensure differentiation and unique position of the activities and conditions offered by the region… Link economic goals with societal and environmental challenges… Allow experimentation, creativity and rapid adjustment of the strategies to the changing conditions… Ensure the commitment and involvement of all stakeholders… in the designing of the strategy and consecution of its objectives. (OECD 2013, 23). RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 9

10 Prospects for EU, Prospects for Australia EU response has been rapid and focused - but will it work? Significant intellectual effort with resources committed now needs to be supported at regional level Inevitably significant investment in growth-oriented activities… Where is the vision? Where is the homework? Where is the investment? RMIT University©2008 Information Technology Services 10


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