Regional policy

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Regional policy aims to improve economic conditions in regions of relative disadvantage, either within a nation or within a supranational grouping such as the European Union.

Regional policy in the European Union[edit]

Although the European Union is one of the richest parts of the world, there are large internal disparities of income and opportunity between its regions. The May 2004 Enlargement, followed by accession of Bulgaria and Romania in January 2007, has widened these gaps. Regional policy transfers resources from richer to poorer regions.[1]

The argument for regional policy is that it is both an instrument of financial solidarity and a powerful force for economic integration.

Regional policy in Italy[edit]

The major Italian experience of regional policy is the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, set up in the mid-1950s to foster economic development in southern Italy. Originally intended to last for six months, it survived until 1984.

New roads, irrigation projects and developments in infrastructure were built in an area where local communities had suffered seriously from poverty, de-population and high levels of emigration. Tourism projects attempted to exploit Calabria’s beaches.

Regional policy in the United Kingdom[edit]

UK regional policy was born during the economic depression of the 1930s, when heavy industries in the north were devastated. "Assisted Areas" were established, within which companies could acquire grants or capital allowances – known as Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) – in return for protecting jobs.

The overall pattern of policy changed little in the next forty years. Despite criticism by a 1970s Royal Commission that it was "Empiricism run mad; a game of hit and miss played with more enthusiasm than success",[citation needed] governments of both parties maintained Assisted Areas. Under the 1980s Thatcher government, regional policy was significantly rolled back, with Assisted Areas substantially reduced in size.

The post-1997 Labour administration reorganised regional policy, with RSA replaced by Selective Finance for Investment in England and Scotland. UK policy has been subject to EU regional policy framework, with its strong injunctions against unfair competition (generally meaning state aid).

Regional policy in the United States[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Regional Policy in the European Union". Retrieved 30 April 2014.

External links[edit]