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Regional Diversity and Local Development in Central and Eastern Europe

The seminar was organised by Unidea UniCredit Foundation in collaboration with the OECD LEED Programme, CoDe Joint European Master in Comparative Local Development (University of Trento), EUROREG – Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (Warsaw University) and the Regional Studies Association - Polish section. The event discussed regional diversity and local development in Central and Eastern Europe, the opportunities for both public and private actors to actively contribute to the improvement of local realities, and the regional and European context of such local strategies.

In economies once dominated by central planning and large-scale enterprise based on mass production, local development can play a significant role in restructuring and revitalizing the economy.Various local actors, both public and private, can make important contributions to economic growth and development, by innovating, upgrading human resources and so generating jobs, in particular for young people, and by promoting the social (re-) integration of local environments. Nevertheless successful local economic development is not a reality everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe and regional and local differences have widened since 1989.

Local development provides an answer to regional inequalities through business development and the amelioration of its environment. Local development is, however, no guarantee for equal and inclusive economic growth, also because some regions seem to be in a better position to exploit opportunities than others. And multiple levels need to be considered, as local economies are not self-sufficient but participate in a multi-level interplay of governance, in which various actors attempt to deal with developmental problems. The European dimension is particularly crucial, involving both challenges and possibilities for the economies in transformation.



  • Ivo Bicanic, Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb, Croatia. How much have multiple shocks (independence, war, transformation) changed the development gradientof Croatian regions? 
  • Petr Pavlinek, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Regional development effects of foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe. 
  • Grzegorz Gorzelak, Director, EUROREG - Centre for European Regional and Local Studies, Warsaw University. Main processes of regional development in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990. 
  • Éva Ruttkay, Hungarian Association of Local Governments, Budapest. Local development and local authorities in Hungary. 
  • Aleksander Surdej, Department of European Studies,Cracow University of Economics. Designing institutional assets for local development: in search of theoretical guidance. 
  • Marek Kozak, EUROREG - Centre for European Regional and Local Studies, Warsaw University. Regional development in the process of enlargement. 
  • Sorin Ionita, Romanian Academic Society, Bucharest. Social benefits and administrative strains: the golden burden of EU funds at the sub-national level in Romania.