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Regions

Energy corridors

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, January 1, 2007
Abstract in English: 
The European Union is concerned by the competitiveness, security and sustainability of its energy system. This publication presents the main results of the ENCOURAGED project that assessed the potential energy corridors between the EU and its neighbouring countries addressing in particular the issues on natural gas, electricity and hydrogen. The EU neighbouring countries are the main suppliers and transit countries of oil and natural gas. The dependency of the EU on imported gas supplies is largely increasing in the next years. Therefore, the role of neighbouring countries will grow significantly in the next decades and will probably extend to electricity exchanges and perhaps, in the next decades, to hydrogen supply. Three main points are of particular importance for the integration of the energy markets of the EU and neighbouring countries: to get compatible interconnections, compatible market framework and compatible environmental policies.
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Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020. Regional disparities and future challenges - New Social Risks

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, June 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
"In the framework of both the Lisbon Strategy and the Sustainable Development Strategy, European institutions agreed on the necessity to modernise and develop the European social model in the light of slowing growth, persistent structural unemployment, rising inequalities.
In recent years along with the persistence of the main risks of the industrial society (illness, disability, old age) new social risks are brought about by economic and demographic developments; main factors are: a higher probability of job loss for larger parts of society and different age cohorts; changes in size and composition of families with reduction of the capacity to provide “in house” care; limited capacity of welfare systems to deal with these risks due to financial constraints and difficulty in updating welfare arrangements; cultural and education gaps. These transformations pose a serious problem of adequacy of the European welfare states. The present patterns may reveal not as successful as they used to be in protecting all against poverty, in guaranteeing social cohesion and in responding to citizens’ aspirations in modern democracies.
Social challenge is common to all EU Member States, but exposure to old and new social risks largely varies across regions. In this paper, the assessment of regional sensitivity is based on a summary index of social risk which combines several indicators of drivers referring to three relevant dimensions: family, labour market, and welfare. With more detail, the following indicators have been used:
• the share of poor at regional level, as a proxy of the size of the social risk in terms of income;
• the rate of employment calculated on total population, that embodies the social impact of both demographic trends (share of population in working age) and of labour market factors (activity rate on working age population and rate of unemployment);
• the educational attainment of working people, as a proxy of the regional share of low-skilled workers with higher probability of experiencing unemployment or of receiving a low wage;
• an index of efficacy, adequacy and sustainability of the welfare states at national level
According to the level of social risks measured by the summary index, regions have been classified in five typologies which have been displayed in a map. More than one half of European regions show a low or very low sensitivity to social risks. These top class regions are concentrated in Northern (especially low risk regions) and Central Europe along with United Kingdom. On the opposite side, about one quarter of European regions have a high or very high sensitivity confirming the existence of great disparities among countries and regions. Generally speaking, the two most critical areas are individuated in the Mediterranean countries –Portugal, Southern Spain, Greece, Italian Mezzogiorno- and in the Eastern area of new Member States with the exception of Estonia. Comparison with maps of European cohesion policy is interesting. All the regions with high and very high exposure to social risk are regions of Convergence or phasing-out area, with few exceptions. In the other direction, most of the regions of Convergence area show a high and very high social risk exposure. This is especially true for Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Latvia and Lithuania (and would be true also for Bulgaria and Romania not included in summary index). There are however important exceptions regarding some of the new Member States (Czech Republic, Slovenia and Estonia), Eastern Germany and Convergence regions in the United Kingdom showing an intermediate or low social risk sensitivity.
In neighbour countries the picture is more concerning. Fight against poverty and promotion of employment are priorities in each country. Most of them are still faced with a number of challenges such as high unemployment, which particularly affects young people and women, the prevalence of an informal economy, leaving workers without social rights and social protection, as well as the mismatch between education and labour market needs. Most countries lack an integrated approach combining economic, employment and social objectives. They also suffer from poor administrative capacity in this area. Significant efforts are needed to implement effective labour market policies, to promote decent work and guarantee productive employment, rights at work, social protection and equal opportunities for men and women.
As far as challenge intensity is concerned, the European Union is in a favourable condition with regard to social risks in a broader OECD perspective; in fact, all countries with income inequality below OECD average level are European. Nevertheless there are various factors which may increase the intensity of the challenge on Europe.
The number of Europeans living under the poverty line has increased in the last decades. Around 100 million Europeans in 2004 (22.5% of the total population) had less than 60% of the EU median income, but the situation is widely differentiated across countries and within them.
Although social benefits reduce the percentage of people at risk of poverty, serious holes exist in the social protection policies in several countries. In addition there are doubts on the financial sustainability of the present model in the next decades and on its adequacy to deal with new social risks.
The employment and participation rates remain below the targets set within the Lisbon Strategy, especially for women and old workers. Data on educational attainment show that the share of population with secondary and tertiary education is lower than other large OECD countries.
Impacts of social challenge on disparities depend on the relation between regional sensitivity and challenge intensity and they are assessed in a qualitative manner through construction of two scenarios corresponding to the two extremes of the expected range of variation of challenge intensity. A pessimistic scenario is characterised by a decrease in the number of double wage households and an increase in the number of people living in working-poor families or depending on social transfers. In a context of slow growth and of tightening financial constraints, new demand for welfare do not find adequate coverage. The target set by Lisbon Strategy in terms education and of employment rates are only partially achieved. This pessimistic scenario is likely to lead to increasing regional inequalities.
In an optimistic scenario, greater labour demand driven by economic expansion, and more effective policies allow an increase in participation rates and in the number of double wage earner households. In addition investments in education and life long learning increase average skill levels of both local and immigrant workers, reducing the proportion of low skilled low-income workers. Effective reforms of the welfare states, made easier by loosening financial constraints, ensure greater coverage for old and new social risks. This optimistic scenario is likely to be linked to a process of convergence."
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Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020. Regional disparities and future challenges - Energy

Author: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, May 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
"The energy challenge is a challenge with many dimensions. At the broad level there are issues like sustainability of energy use, security and competitiveness of supply. These broad issues themselves can be broken down to many smaller but no less important issues as e.g. global and European energy demand and supply, the availability of fossil fuel resources, renewable energy, energy transmission networks, prices for oil, gas and electricity to cite only a few of them. All these issues can be further broken down from a geographical point of view, from the global to the European, to the national and potentially to the regional level.
This large number of dimensions makes it difficult to get hold of all the issues involved in the energy challenge at the same time, nevertheless this paper aims at providing an overview of the energy challenge and its dimension. At the same time it is clear that this overview can only be the start of a much more detailed analysis, hence it is considered to be a more or less suitable basis for further research. After all this seems highly necessary in order to develop a clear view on what the effects of the energy challenge on the European regions will be.
The present paper, which intends to cover most of the dimension of the energy challenge, develops a specific structure of analysis in order to present the results in a coherent way. Amongst the many possibilities our structure splits the energy dimensions according to whether they pertain to the supply or the demand side of energy or whether they pertain to the transaction from the supply to the demand side. Thus on the supply side we analyse: Global and European energy supply, renewables and technology. With respect to energy transaction issues we focus on pipelines and LNG, energy (electricity) networks, oil prices, electricity and gas prices (incl. environmental taxes). On the demand side we analyse: global and European energy demand, GHG emissions, energy efficiency, economic effects, emission trading and finally carbon storage.
Given the number of raised issues the intention of the analysis if to provide an overview of, while an in depth analysis of each point would be far beyond the scope of the paper.
Given this the paper finally attempts to analyse the potential negative and positive impacts these dimension could have on regional disparities. Given the severe data and information limitations at the regional level and, given the fact that the energy challenge as such is a complex issue, it is extremely difficult to define two clear scenarios, as many assumptions have to be made about potential positive and negative developments in each of these challenges. Therefore, the scenario analysis is a highly speculative exercise that goes most of the components of the energy challenge and analysing them whether on to what extent they might affect the EU regions. All components are analysed with respect to their potential positive and negative impacts on regional disparities as well as with respect to the data available to investigate this issue further. As such the analysis below provides modules for scenario building, allowing to chose for each component of the energy challenge whether it is assumed to apply until 2020 or not."
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Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020. Regional disparities and future challenges - Climate Change

Author: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
"In this paper climate change is understood as a set of alterations in the average weather caused by global warming due to the emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
Climate change is serious and scary. Amongst all challenges that are dealt with in this project it is the one challenge that potentially has the most severe impacts, globally and on Europe. The very reason for this is that climate change affects virtually every aspect of our every day life, economic, social and environmental. It is a multidimensional challenge, with its impacts not only ranging from issues like human health, supply of safe water and food, biodiversity, economic development etc., but also has impacts on all the other four challenges dealt with under this project.
The impacts of climate change can be extreme, almost unbelievable. To illustrate, pessimistic estimates predict that if global temperature increases by around 3°C above pre-industrial level additional 550 million people (approximately the size of the EU) will be at risk of hunger in world. Likewise, for the same increase in temperature, 50% of animal species may be extinct, and this is just the top of the (by then non-existing) iceberg.
Climate change is not an European challenge. It is a global challenge with effects on Europe. This has to be made aware of. Because just as Europe is responsible for safeguarding its people from the negative impacts of climate change, it has, being one of the world’s major force, to take up its responsibility for the other parts of the world. It is certainly not enough to sit back and enjoy the privilege of being born into a developed part of the world that, if let alone, could deal with any problem or challenge. Our actions affect people all over the world, just as their actions affect us. From that, if philanthropist reasons are not enough for Europe to take up its responsibility, it should do so, because the impacts climate change has in other parts of the world might have military, social and economic repercussions on the Europeans.
In the light of the severity of the impacts climate change can have, it is surprising how little is known about it in public. Sure, climate change gained public attention in 2007, when Al Gore and the IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". But still it is felt that public awareness is much too low.
Tackling climate change and finding the right policies is not only about mitigation, adaption and analysing the problem. It is also about making it known to the people, because in the end it is us that, with our every day actions, are responsible of what the future climate will be.
Task
In this spirit, and since climate change is, as mentioned, a multidimensional challenge this paper, by reviewing the current literature, aims at giving an overview of the multiple impacts climate change can have globally and on Europe. Its main focus are the economic, environmental and social consequences, firstly at the world and secondly at the European level, with the ultimate aim to derive some conclusions on how climate change affects the European Union’s NUTS-2 regions.
The remainder of the paper is organised as follows:
Chapter 2 reviews current findings on the global and European impact of climate change, also taking into account developments in neighbouring regions, likely repercussions from global effects on Europe and some aspects of adaption to climate change. Chapter 3 develops an indicator to assess the vulnerability of EU NUTS 2 regions to climate change. Finally, chapter 4 by taking into account the insights from the previous chapter the paper dares to present two scenarios of potential impacts of climate change on regions: a pessimistic scenario based on the assumption that climate change and global warming cannot be stopped and an optimistic scenario based on the hypothesis that global warming will stop at the EU’s target of a temperature that is only 2°C higher than in the pre-industrial era.
Importantly, it has to be noted that mitigation will not be covered in this paper, as this will be done in the paper on the energy challenge."
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Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020. Regional disparities and future challenges - Demographic Challenge

Author: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
"In this study, three main drivers of the current demographic challenge in the EU regions have been singled out and have been used in making up the sensitivity index through their main components :
- Total population change;
- Changes in labour-age population;
- Population ageing.

In a global frame of reference, Europe presents a peculiar demographic situation characterised by: i) very low or below-zero rate of population growth; ii) steady growth or initial decrease of the labour-age population; iii) ageing processes which involve the entire population as well as its significant parts, labour-age population in particular.
Four critical areas have been singled out in respect to the EU27 regions’ sensitivity to the demographic challenge by 2020:
1) The former Eastern Germany, with some extensions westwards;
2) The North-western part of Spain;
3) North-western and Central Italy, with some extensions southwards;
4) All the Bulgarian regions.

(...)Some changes in the future population dynamics are almost independent from the future macro-economic prospects and the relevant scenarios. The cohort turnover by 2020 shall modify the demographic structure and trends. Future migrations, internal or external to the EU, may change only partially those turnovers, so that their impact can be foreseen with large confidence.
The two alternative scenarios – the pessimistic one, which foresee a severe and perdurable economic recession, vs. the optimistic one, which imagines a fast recovery driven by innovation – mainly affect only the migration components of the demographic challenge. In that, much will depend on the ways and territorial distribution of the economic recession/development. Also the involvement and response of the neighbouring countries in those processes will have important returns on the foreseeable future of the European population.
Results of both scenarios confirm that European regions in 2020 will continue facing ageing and immigration. In the pessimistic scenario, ageing is more diffused and this negatively affects population change. In particular: social risks and costs of demographic change increase in more sensitive regions, while the future growth potential is limited in less sensitive regions. In the optimistic scenario, demographic constraints are moderately less stringent. In this context, more sensitive regions may experience increasing internal disparities in population ageing and agglomeration; less sensitive regions may experience lighter constrictions in WAP and in the future population growth. Both scenarios would require supporting social and economic adaptation of the different territories to demographic change, stressing the relevance of cohesion policy."
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Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020. Regional disparities and future challenges - Globalisation

Author: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Abstract in English: 
"This paper provides a concise analysis of the potential impact of globalisation on regional income disparities in Europe and of the role of neighbouring countries in this process in the period up to 2020.
The analysis is part of a broader project of DG REGIO, which, together with the World Bank and the Bertelsmann Foundation, has established the Regional Future Initiative, a network of experts looking at the future of regional trends. The objective of the network is to analyse and build a consensus on the future impacts of key challenges (globalisation, climate change, demographic change and migration, energy risks and social polarisation) that regions will face in the perspective of 2020 and to elaborate and discuss possible responses. The output of the network should provide a basis for policy discussion and choices in the coming years.
The paper is based upon a new analysis produced by the Regional Future network itself as well as prior research by international institutions and scholars. The project covers 5 challenges and the discussion of each challenge has been designed to avoid overlaps so far as possible. In the final phase the analysis of each challenge will be merged to produce two broad scenarios for European regions in 2020.

(...) After a review of relevant literature and hypotheses, the paper proceeds to examine the characteristics and dimensions of globalization as it affects Europe and neighbouring regions. The analysis focusses on countries first and then on regions (NUTS2). At the country level, the scope of the analysis is wider and benefits from the extensive availability and reliability of national data. The more limited availability of data at the regional level narrows down the scope of the exercise but nevertheless allows us to point out peculiar geographical patterns which are particularly relevant to cohesion.
The country-level analysis of globalisation (§ 2.1-2.2) provides a basis for examining the strength of individual Member States in different branches of trade (manufactures, services, raw materials and energy etc.) and other external income sources. A set of indicators is then used to calculate an index of sensitivity of individual regions in the face of globalization opportunities and pressures (§ 2.3). Three groups of regions are identified on the basis of this index: highly beneficiary, intermediate and vulnerable regions.
The final chapter looks forward to 2020 and considers prospects for European countries under two different scenarios for the world economy and European economy as a whole (§ 3.1-2). Finally, by combining insights stemming from the country-level analysis and the index of regional sensitivity the paper assesses the potential impacts of globalisation on regions in 2020 (§ 3.3)".
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Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020 - Regional disparities and future challenges - Synthesis

Author: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
"This paper provides a concise analysis of the potential impacts of key challenges such as globalisation, demographic change, climate change, energy and new social risks on regional disparities in Europe in the period up to 2020. The challenges reviewed here are relevant for other parts of the world as well as Europe and will require responses at many levels - global, European, national, regional and local.

This paper is particularly concerned with regional impacts and more especially the potential effect of new challenges on convergence or divergence of trends in regional income and well-being within the European Community and neighbouring areas. The present paper is based upon 5 thematic workshops held between March and June 2009 in Brussels and the background papers prepared by experts in preparation of the workshops. The paper is also based upon a new analysis produced by the Regional Future network itself, as well as prior research by international institutions and scholars. The study team has carried out the analysis using a definition of the challenges considered more suitable for the aim of the study on regional disparities; definitions which would allow to identify and measure effect on disparities more directly were adopted. Furthermore, we avoided as far as possible the overlapping between definitions of challenges and their manifestation, which we call features of the challenge. This approach implies that each feature has been analyzed only within one challenge, even if it was relevant for others as well. The purpose was to clarify and simplify the conceptual framework of the analysis in which the number of links among challenges is very high and their direction and sign is difficult to define. In other words, we made sure that each individual feature of the challenges was analyzed once, in coherence with the challenge boundaries set by its definition.

This method allows us to make clear hypothesis on the two sided nature of each phenomenon and of its features; many features of the challenges in fact can benefit as well as penalize regions depending on the economic and social structure, the geography and location and also the geo-economic position of each region. Most of these factors are strongly influenced by the National characteristics of the Member State to which they belong. To carry out the analysis we defined a model based on a definition of sensitivity to the challenge which summarizes the vulnerability of each region under that challenge and gives us a parameter to estimate the likely impact of the challenge on its economic performance. The sensitivity parameters of each region were then related to a set of hypothesis of challenge intensity (scenarios), namely how fast and how strong the challenge impact would affect EU regions and give rise to income disparities."
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Regions 2020 - Globalisation challenge for European Regions

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
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.
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Regions 2020 - Climate change challenges for European regions

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
This paper summarizes main findings on the impact of climate change on temperature and precipitation, outlines some of their impacts on socio economic conditions as well as identifying vulnerable regions. Conclusions are drawn in respect of the impact on the regional growth potential, sustainability and equity. The analysis on which the findings of the note are based are uncertain to some degree, as they relate to projections of climate conditions in the future. There are also significant uncertainties involved in presenting impacts on a regional level which result from modelling results which are based on more aggregated data.
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Regions 2020 - Demographic Challenges for European Regions

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Abstract in English: 
There is a great diversity of demographic dynamics across the globe. Some world regions will experience steady population growth, whilst others will face severe population decline. Population growth in Europe will slow down considerably relative to the United States and the emerging economies of China and India and Europe is the second most rapidly ageing world region, after Japan. Europe's immediate neighbourhood, the Middle East and North Africa region has the world's second fastest growing population, after sub-Saharan Africa. Demographic developments in South East Europe and in the European CIS countries will be similar to that in the EU. Future migration flows towards the EU will mainly arrive from the Mediterranean region, in view of differences in living standards and population trends exacerbated by natural resource constraints.

There are however wide variations in demographic patterns between and within Member States. Regional variability will depend on various factors such as fertility rates, migration flows, gender, health, disability and the demographic patterns of ethnic groups. Three important processes – notably population decline, shrinking working-age population and an ageing population - will have a marked effect on regions. These variables have been combined in a demographic vulnerability index, mapping the regions which will be particularly vulnerable to demographic challenges. Around one third of European regions will face population decline, located mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, Eastern Germany, Southern Italy and Northern Spain. The highest shares of elderly population will be found in Eastern Germany, North-West of Spain, Italy and some parts of Finland. In Central and Eastern Europe, the impacts of
ageing will be delayed owing to their younger population. However, significant increases in their old-age population are expected in the long run.

The share of working-age population is expected to be particularly low in several of the Finnish, Swedish and German regions. The magnitude of decline in the working-age population shows significant variations. Some regions in Bulgaria, Eastern Germany and Poland will be particularly hardly hit, with a decline exceeding 25% by 2020. Demographic change will potentially impact on regional growth through a shrinking labour force. The extent to which a shrinking labour force will constitute a drag on growth will largely depend on the educational attainment, productivity of the labour force and on future participation rates. Ageing will lead to significant increases in public expenditure, in particular on pension, health and long-term care. Ensuring access to high quality public services will constitute a major challenge for European Member States and regions. Increasing urbanisation will impact on environmental sustainability, in particular on the use of natural resources and eco-systems. The socio-economic integration of migrants and marginalised groups of society will be precondition to mitigate the complex effects of an ageing population.

The significant regional divergence in demographic patterns will most likely generate a substantial asymmetric socio-economic impact on European territories, which might further increase regional disparities in Europe.
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