“To seek Europe is to make it! Europe exists through its search for the infinite - and this is what I call adventure” Zygmunt Bauman, An adventure called Europe. Territorial Scenarios and Visions for Europe ET2050 Danube Region Transnational Regional Report Brussels, 19.03.2012.
“To seek Europe is to make it! Europe exists through its search for the infinite - and this is what I call adventure”
Zygmunt Bauman, An adventure called Europe
Centre for Regional Studies Hungarian Academy of Sciences
GÁL, Zoltán (PHD, Dr habil.)[email protected]
Centre for Economic & Regional Studies,Hungarian Academy of Sciences
University of Kaposvár, Faculty of Economics
One of the most fragmented, diverse and checkered territory of Europe
Characterised by a dominance of long-term disintegration processes (empires multi-ethnic states - dissolution of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia & USSR)
Modernfragmentation has several dimensions:
8 EU and 7 non-EU members
2 Eurozone members
Non-members of Schengen zone (Romania and Bulgaria)
Accession country (Croatia) & EU candidates (Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia)
Non-negotiating countries about EU accession (Moldova, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania)
The differences between sub-regions are larger than between countries.
Historical tensionsblock connections,and hinder the full integration of the EU member states.
Ethnically sensitive territorial protection (reactive values)
Modernization slope Changes in the per capita GDP in Hungary and in the CEE&SEE countries in comparison to the Western European average (12 counrtries =100%), 1870-2010 (International Geary-Khamis dollars, 1990)
Demographic trends: still younger but rapidly ageing:
Several economically advanced regions have ageing populations.
Shrinking population influences the expected development course, consumption needs, and even the use of the environment.
The high number and proportion of the Roma population (a specific feature of the Danube region)
Internal: economic decline of factor supply via deskilling via internal, intra-regional (within the Danube region) and international migration.
External: large masses already appear on the external borders of the region from North Africa, the Middle East and the former USSR.
Economic trends: despite European catching-up processes, the large economic and territorial inequalities can not be eliminated in dependent economies due to constant capital scarcities
The sharp dividing line between German and Austrian, as well as post-socialist space persists
CEE economic differentiation: zones alongside the main corridors in CEE are heavily linked to FDI and to Western European industrial networks (automotive)
The unambiguous winners of the process are capital regions
More ambiguous mixture of FDI-driven reindustrialisation and the surviving domestic industrial capacities with rapid deindustrializing
Weak innovation:R&D investment relative to GDP funded by the business sector – except in Austria and the Czech Republic – was low
Note: The numerical value in the upper box shows the ranking of the individual region within the sample. The value in the lower box shows the change in the region’s ranking between 2000 and 2008.
External peripherization: CEE urban network traditionally oriented towards Western European urban system cyclical disintegrations increased peripherization within Europe
Internal peripherization: A polycentric macroregional urban system constituted by monocentric national urban systems and a fragmented rural network,
Danube a true axis of urbanisation: high concentration of population & MNCs
Clear divide between capital cities and secondary centers
The Balkans complex fragmentation on a national (ethnical) basis.
Proximity/distance still matters: delayed network development, capital-centric in comparison with WE, historically influenced redundancies (due to changing national boundaries )
Political centralism preferred capital city-based monocentric national networks with limited border permeability
Budapest-centric TENs, development- vis-á-vis environmentally motivated transport development (high share of highway investment ), hollowing-out of peripheries
EU energy policy influenced by: secure supply, sustainability, market liberalisation diversification, inherent contradictions
South Stream, Nabucco and “Blue Stream” gas pipelines
Increased energy consumption reliance on nuclear and fossil-based generation
Renewable energy deployment motivated by EU targets
1 The scenario of successful integration
EU will overcome the current difficulties and the expansion will successfully continue
Within approx. 15 years Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania may also become the members of the European Union.
If the euro gets over the current difficulties, new countries from the regions are likely to join the euro-zone within 15 years
The poorest regions of the EU member states receive considerable support from the EU Structural Funds. (Only three arecurrently ineligible for funding as convergence regions)
Among the main challenges are to improve the north-south transport connections, increase border permeability (bridges) and improve the living conditions of Europe’s largest Roma community (8% of the total population)
2 The scenario of Central European cooperation
In this scenario, it is assumed that EU enlargement will progress more slowly than previously assumed.
It does not mean the disintegration of the European Union. Rather, more intra-regional cooperation (Visegrad countries) takes place, which partly compensates the slowing of EU enlargement.
In this regional collaboration scheme the importance of the Danube will increase for landlocked countries.
Energy security, the diversification of energy supply should also be achieved through cooperative within the region.
Cooperation among former Yugoslav member states may gain a new momentum.
Germany, Austria and Italy lead co-operation initiatives
3. ‘Worst case’ scenario, when the disputes and conflicts between the countries of the Danube region make cooperation and integration impossible
Debates between the countries themselves make any kind of joint action impossible. Of course, this scenario is extreme in the current form, but draws attention to the recently more or less hidden dangers threatening the Danube region.
Conflicts with neighbours related to the ethnic minorities
Conflicts arising from realised or even not accomplished projects
Debates over the delimitation of border (former Yugoslavian border zones)
Conflicts of disguised protectionism
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