Good Strategic Planning results in strong regional economy. The architects of regional economies are highly trained professionals called Economic Developers.
What the Economic Developers do?
The economic developer is more than just an economist. Today, the people responsible for developing strong regional economies are expected to act as strategists. They have to posses the knowledge and the experience allowing them to manage the process of integration and marketing the potential of the region. If done correctly, it will lead to more investments attracted to the region and thousands of new jobs delivered.
Gap in European System for Territorial Development
Formula Europa Institute and the European Association of RDAs, along with five other European partners, have discovered a systematic gap in the European System for Territorial Development.
Compared with other developed territories of the world, e.g. USA and Canada, the partners have discovered a link between insufficient government performance in economic development in certain European regions (South East Еurope) on one hand, and the fact that the profession of certified economic developer is not present in Europe on the other.
In March 2011 the Partners submitted a project under ESPON Program aimed at initiating the process of modelling of pan–European System for Standardization and Certification of the Capacity for Economic Development in Europe, respectively the Government Performance in this field.
Why we have done it?
Europe has ceased experiencing homogenous economic development. After the 2004 enlargement many were afraid that Europe would increasingly come to develop on two speeds. This turned out not to be the case, Europe is no longer working on two speeds as became blatantly clear following the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU in 2007. Generally speaking, Europe now works on three speeds: The old member states representing most developed regions, Central European Regions slowly but surely catching up, and South Eastern Europe (SEE), epitomised by Romania and Bulgaria, lagging further behind. Worryingly, with the accession of future countries in the near future, there is a danger that a fourth speed on the horizon.
What actually matters at this point?
The fact is that these different speeds of economic development manifest themselves in huge regional disparities. But this is not all. Lacking optimal capacity for Economic Development Strategic Planning, the less developed regions cannot implement European financial aid or realize the objectives of the Cohesion Policy and so it becomes all but impossible to reap the benefits of European integration. In the long term the speed of the entire European Economy will slow down significantly.
The current trend is:
Living standards in the regions of South Eastern Europe are in fact declining rapidly with already gaping disparities growing ever deeper.
The expected trend is:
As a result of this the pressure on economically developed European regions will increase! Here are the driving factors for this increasing pressure:
1. Further EU enlargements
2. North African refugee flow
3. Insufficient Government Performance in Economic Development Strategic Planning in SEE
4. EU principals for free movement of people
Which one of these drivers we can manage?
We should not consider changing the idea of united Europe. Further enlargements are a welcome inevitability. Can we stop North African political trends? The answer is NO. Can we change one of the strongest driving factors for economic development, European mobility? The answer is NO. However, we have all the tools in hand to work with insufficient government performance in economic development in SEE. In particular, the capacity for Strategic Planning!
Pan- European Measures and Standards for Government Performance in Economic Development
The Formula Europa Institute which is based in Brussels is dedicated to building pan-European Measures and Standards for Government Performance in Economic Development Strategic Planning & Management.