Regional competitiveness

The European Commission released the 2016 EU Regional Competitiveness index. The regional leaders are clustered in the same old countries that always take the top prizes: Germany, England, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland. Lagging behind are Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece.

Two things have to be analysed further: a) the UK will be out of the EU sooner or later and so will several high competitiveness regions disappear from the EU map. On average, the EU will be less competitive. Moreover, the cross-border facilitation of innovation will be hampered so we might see a decrease in competitiveness for regions at the western border of the EU; b) Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece have something in common: they are ruled by a reckless political class that doesn’t really care about Competitiveness Indices. So it will be hard for those countries to break with the past and focus the political forces to implement policies that foster innovation.

The Romanian political class, as an example I am very familiar with, is more concerned with subordinating the justice, recklessly increasing the salaries without any budgetary and fiscal support.

Here is the thing: What is the EU doing, then? I hope the European Commission doesn’t limit itself to generating annual reports stating the obvious. After all, the policy juggernaut that is the EC uses a lot of resources but doesn’t have enough power to implement regional policies. And this is a paradox that makes the EC Regional Policy a big think tank with limitless financing.