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Regional Disparities in Central and Eastern European Countries: Trends, Drivers and Prospects

Maciej Smętkowski
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Maciej Smętkowski ()

Europe-Asia Studies, 2013, vol. 65, issue 8, 1529-1554

Abstract: Growth in Central and East European countries (CEE) is territorially unbalanced, more so than in most other parts of the EU. The benefits of transformation in these countries have been unequally distributed among particular social groups and territories—with the emergence of highly educated and internationally successful professionals and entrepreneurs located mainly in metropolitan areas on the one hand, and structural unemployment, persistent poverty and social exclusion in peripheral regions on the other. These regional imbalances are characterised by a process of metropolisation that has privileged a handful of dynamic urban centres while exacerbating the structural problems of old industrial regions, vast rural areas and regions located on borders, and especially the EU's eastern borders. Different as they are in social, cultural and geographical terms, these declining or stagnating regions share general problems of economic peripherality and many negative effects of structural change, such as rural depopulation, ‘brain drain’, disinvestment and, frequently, below-average levels of socio-economic well-being. This polarised economic and territorial development within CEE poses challenges not only for the respective countries, but also for European cohesion.

Date: 2013
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DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2013.833038

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