In the field of international relations, the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy acts in support and cooperation with the European Service for External Actions (EEAS) and the family of external relations of Directorates-General (DEVCO and DG TRADE). There is a growing interest in different parts of the world in the process of European integration, not only from an institutional point of view but also in terms of policies which promote European economic and social development and territorial cohesion. Foremost among these is European regional policy, which aims to ensure that the benefits of the single market in Europe, based on the free movement of goods and services, labor and capital, are also widely disseminated. as possible.
Among the main features of EU regional policy that are of interest to third countries such as China, Russia and Brazil, as well as international organizations such as CARICOM, SACU, MERCOSUR and ASEAN, are issues such as the geographic targeting of resources between Member States. States and regions; the organization of multi-level governance systems; sustainable urban development policy; cross-border development; regional innovation systems and their implementation. As regards cooperation with the countries of the European neighborhood, the EU seeks to promote key concepts of EU regional policy such as open markets, respect for the environment, participatory democracy and partnership in the design and implementation of development policy.
This interest comes at a time when policy has undergone substantial change. Indeed, the regional policy of the EU is today a means of implementing the political priorities of the Union on its territory. To do this, it co-finances integrated national or regional investment programs, where the Union’s contribution to the programs is greatest in the less prosperous areas.
Today, therefore, EU regional policy is an integral part of economic policy, but with the unique peculiarity that it is implemented with the consent and participation of the grassroots through a system of multi-level governance. where each level – European, national, regional and local – has a role to play. Grassroots involvement, for example, in the development of regional and local strategies and the selection of projects creates a feeling of ownership of European policy and thus contributes to territorial integration. It is these characteristics that have aroused the interest of large countries with large territorial imbalances which seek to combine the pursuit of more homogeneous growth with systems of governance which contribute to transparent public policies and which contribute to further integration through decentralization.
In addition to the projection of the concepts of interregional solidarity and good governance, cooperation in the field of regional policy also offers the opportunity to project other values such as respect for the free market through competition, State aid and public procurement rules, for environmental and political rules and for equal opportunities and minority rights. These create the framework conditions under which EU financial support is granted and provide positive incentives to achieve high public policy standards.
Regional political dialogues
The Commission, DG REGIO, has concluded formal regional policy cooperation agreements with China , Russia , Brazil , and Ukraine , Georgia , Moldova , Chile , Peru , Argentina , Japan , Mexico , Sistema de Integracion de Centro-America (SICA) , Colombia , India . These countries face strong regional disparities as well as major challenges in terms of coordinating different levels of government, and ensuring that decentralization can be achieved without compromising efficiency.
Brochure: European regional policy, an inspiration for non-EU countries?
November 2009 –