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Regions 2020 - Globalisation challenge for European Regions

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The definition of the globalisation process is particularly difficult. Globalisation is not an unequivocally defined statistical variable which is directly measurable (like GDP and Trade) or indirectly computable (like Ageing and Migration), but rather the multifaceted synthesis of a vast number factors of different nature - economic, social, technological etc. – which are often difficult to find into current statistics. Beside, globalisation is a bundle of different dynamics, which means that it became quickly impossible to operate a clear cut distinction between its causes and effects.

One of the consequences of these complexities is that the measurement of globalisation and the notion of its impact are not universal, but vary accordingly to the specific interests of the analysis. In the context of our exercise, we look at globalisation as a process of international (market) integration, where local economies and social systems experience a rapid increase of their sphere of action and their reciprocal interdependence. According to this definition, globalization assumes the characters of a structural development of the economic system. Cyclical events, though with profound consequences as the recent financial and economic crisis, do not modify the pattern of the analysis since it is believed that their influence is temporary and will not change the
direction of long term trends.

A first way of sketching globalisation according to this definition is by measuring the evolution of the share of trade in GDP. In addition, the role of investments is of everincreasing importance, since companies have supplemented trade with investments and moved from geographically concentrated goods and services production networks to geographically disperse ones. The brief analysis presented in the next section attempts to offer an idea of "the openness boom" spreading around the world and the EU with its Member states.

Section 3 attempts to identify the main advantages and disadvantages of globalisation for EU stakeholders. Globalization gives the EU greater access to other countries' markets and resources, while granting other countries greater access to the EU, one of the largest and wealthiest markets in the world. Overall, this process has been mutually beneficial.

However, the benefits have not always been evenly distributed across the EU territory and economic sectors.

Considering that productivity, employment and education are the main elements which transform the challenge posed by globalisation into an opportunity, section 4 briefly presents the projected regional pattern of these variables for the 2020.

Finally, section 5 presents the main findings of the regional analysis carried out with the "globalisation vulnerability index". The index synthesises the overall position of the EU regions in respect of the variables analysed in section 4 and compares their different position vis-à-vis the challenges posed by the globalisation process.
Globalisation, World Economy, Globalisation Vulnerability Index, Regions 2020, European Regions
Country of publication: 
European Union
Publication date: 
Thursday, January 1, 2009