EoRPA Annual Meeting, Ross Priory, Loch Lomond

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EPRC presentations at Polish National Territorial Observatory
Professor John Bachtler and Dr Martin Ferry gave presentations at a meeting of the Polish National Territorial Observatory, organised by the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and Development in Warsaw on 31st March 2104. Professor Bachtler’s presentation was on ‘Developments in EU Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020’ while Dr Ferry provided an overview of recent developments in regional policy in Europe. Both presentations were based on EPRC research for the EoRPA consortium.
Contact: Martin Ferry or John Bachtler

EPRC Seminar: EU Energy Security and the Crisis in Crimea
On Wednesday 2 april, EPRC hosted a seminar by Dr Andrew Judge from the University of Strathclyde. In this seminar, the likelihood of a suspension of Russian gas supplies via Ukraine and the impact of such a suspension on EU gas imports were analysed. Though the suspension of gas transit is far from inevitable, current circumstances and the developments in Crimea mean that it cannot be ruled out. The impact of such a suspension would disproportionately affect Central and South-East Europe, with Western Europe having sufficient access to alternative supplies. Most EU member states in Central and South-East Europe currently lack alternative supplies, but have sufficient gas storage to cope with a disruption of gas supplies lasting one or two months. In this regard, Bulgaria remains vulnerable as the only EU member state in this region that has neither sufficient gas storage nor access to alternative supplies. The presentation slides can be downloaded here.
Contact: Andrew Judge

EPRC at RSA Research Network on Cohesion policy seminar
Laura Polverari of EPRC was an invited chair in the keynote session of the one day seminar on the new cycle of the Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020, organised by the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy. The seminar was held at the Free University of Brussels on 24 March 2014 and attracted more than 50 researchers and practitioners from across Europe. The workshop included a host of contributions from academics and practitioners on issues such as urban segregation; the nexus between urban scale, social innovation and urban space; multi-level governance; EU cohesion policy reform; and the implications of the unprecedented decrease in public and private investment for the European regions and cities resulting from the on-going economic crisis. At the end of the day, Laura also contributed to the closing session, providing her perspective on the key messages to be taken from the day. For more information on the workshop see here. The next workshop of the Network will take place in Prague on 10 June 2014 and will focus on the evaluation of Cohesion policy in the 2014-2020 period.
Contact: Laura Polverari

EPRC Seminar: Regional development through the lens of New Economic Geography
On Wednesday 26 March, EPRC hosted a seminar by Jesús López-Rodríguez, from the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Joint Research Centre, European Commission – and also Associate Professor at the University of A Coruña. The seminar focussed upon a spatial econometric geographical model of the link between human capital and geographical location. Based on principles of endogenous human capital accumulation, its results demonstrated from a theoretical perspective that economic remoteness matters when investing in skills. Using Romanian regional data as a test case, the model also suggests that between 45% and 59% of the spatial variation in human capital levels is explained by regional access to market. This has implications for regional convergence in income levels, and for regional policy in general.The presentation slides can be downloaded here.
Contact: Jesús López-Rodríguez

EPRC at ad hoc seminar in Naples on the long-term achievements of Cohesion policy
Laura Polverari was an invited speaker at a seminar in Naples, organised by the evaluation unit of the Campania regional authority. She presented the results of a recently completed study on the long-term achievements of Cohesion policy (1989 to 2012), providing an overview of the study's main conclusions, both comparative and in relation to the Campania case study. Her presentation was followed by active discussion with participants on the implications of the study for the new, 2014-2020, programme period and the challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure an effective use of EU funds in the region.
Contact: Laura Polverari

EPRC at North Sea Commission Stakeholder Conference
Irene McMaster was an invited speaker at the North Sea Commission Stakeholder conference in Aalborg, 13-14 March . The North Sea Commission is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014 and marked the occasion by organising a conference that brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia and NGOs to discuss challenges and solutions to shared problems in the North Sea Region. The conference focused on development themes for the region like energy and climate change, marine resources and the added value of regional cooperation around the North Sea. Irene McMaster's presentation was entitled 'North Sea Cooperation: Past, Present and the next 25 years...' and focused in particular on the evolving role of the North Sea Commission and the increasing role and profile of territorial cooperation in the region.
Contact: Irene McMaster

EPRC Seminar: Economic Crisis, Regional Resilience and the EU's Structural Funds
On Wednesday 5 March, EPRC hosted a seminar by Dr Adrian Healy from Cardiff University. The aim of the seminar was to present initial findings of recent work examining the spatial impact of the economic crisis across the EU, and to consider why some regions have proved more resilient than others. Regional resilience was considered using four broad areas (business, community, people and place) as a general conceptual framework. Whilst there is significant complexity and interdependency between factors associated with resilience, evidence from European case studies indicates that certain factors (such as good innovative performance) are correlated with greater regional resilience. The Structural Funds were also seen to have been relatively quick to respond to the economic crisis, through both active and passive means. The presentation slides can be downloaded here.
Contact: Adrian Healy

EIB Research Scholarship on Administrative Capacity in Cohesion Policy
Professor John Bachtler of EPRC and colleagues Professor Robert Thomson and Dr Fabrizio de Francesco of the School of Government & Public Policy and Dr Karol Olejniczak (University of Warsaw) have been awarded a �300,000 University Research Scholarship by the European Investment Bank for research on Administrative Capacity Building in Europe. This is the first EIB University Research Scholarship to be awarded to a university in Scotland and only the third in the UK. The three-year grant will be used to investigate differences in administrative capacity for implementing EU policies across Europe, focusing on the EU's Cohesion policy. The research will contribute to the wider debate on the influence of 'good governance' on economic and social outcomes in Europe, and how the capacity of national, regional and local government to design and implement effective policies can be improved.
Contact: John Bachtler

New EPRC book on the reform of Cohesion policy
Drawing on a decade of EPRC research on the EU budget and Cohesion policy reform, John Bachtler, Carlos Mendez and Fiona Wishlade have published a new book "EU Cohesion Policy and European Integration: The Dynamics of EU Budget and Regional Policy Reform". EU Cohesion policy accounts for a major share of the EU budget and is central to economic and social development in many European countries. This book provides a comprehensive and theoretically-informed analysis of how Cohesion policy has evolved over time, in particular the budgetary and policy dynamics of the 2007-13 reform. In the context of the budgetary politics of the EU, the book examines the process by which the reform of Cohesion policy has been shaped; it identifies the key factors that explain the allocation of funding, assesses the roles of the Member States, European Commission and European Parliament, and tests whether the process and outcome are consistent with the expectations of EU decision-making and integration theories. Based on extensive, EU-wide research over a ten-year period, the book provides new insights into both the process and outcomes of EU policy reform. Presenting original research in an accessible format, this book will be of interest to scholars as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of European integration and policy studies. Reviewers have commented that the book "distils the knowledge, experience and policy expertise of academics at the leading centre for research on European cohesion policy, providing a rich and thoughtful guide to the complexities of one of the EU's flagship policies" (Professor Iain Begg) and "provides fascinating and important new insights into the evolution of EU cohesion policy [adding] considerable detail and nuance to the view that it is just another battleground for member states fighting over EU spending. It is essential reading for anyone interested in EU policies and policy processes" (Professor Rob Ackrill). The book is available from Ashgate further details are available here.
Contact: John Bachtler or Carlos Mendez or Fiona Wishlade

EPRC Seminar: The Governance of Rural Area Development in Poland in the Context of European Integration
On 19 February, EPRC hosted a seminar by Dr Małgorzata Michalewska-Pawlak, Chair of European Studies at the University of Wrocław, Poland. The aim of the seminar was to establish if and how Europeanisation has influenced rural development governance in Poland. Based on a framework of three research hypotheses, it is evident that there is a diversity of governance mechanisms and competing interests which shape the balance between centralised and territorial rural governance. Notable, the sectoral model of rural development governance is underpinned by the Common Agricultural Policy and EU Cohesion Policy. Other (unintended) influences of Europeanisation include support to NGOs and the social economy sector in rural areas, and a positive shift in public opinion towards rural areas in Poland.
Contact: Małgorzata Michalewska-Pawlak

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