European Regional Disparities: The Crucial Source of European Un-sustainability, published in Lex localis, July 2013, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 601 – 614, available at Social Science Research Network
The ongoing European crisis has revealed many deficiencies in the existing European institutional architecture. One of the crucial deficiencies is the unsustainable European regional disparity between the most developed European regions and those regions that are falling behind—a gap that is growing. This pattern of development creates an unsustainable pattern for the future development of the EU. The gap between the advanced segments of society with access to up-to-date knowledge, skills, technology, capital, and other resources and the excluded segments of society is also growing within the advanced European regions. Such observations indicate the need for far stronger anti-dualist economic, social, and legal policy at all levels of European polity. The EU’s response to the crisis has been inadequate as it has ignored the diversity of needs as well as opportunities for local and regional populations across the EU. Instead of focusing the economic, social, and legal reconstruction on a “one size fits all” model imposed from the top, the EU should spur local and regional innovations, initiatives, and development dynamics from below. Thus, in the EU, we need more policy space as well as more opportunities for economic, legal, social, and political innovations at the local, regional, and national levels. We need to create an EU that supports—not suppresses—diversity, sustainability, plurality, and the co-existence of institutional models.
The idea of subsidiarity, diversity, and initiatives from below should be revived in order to create a more sustainable future for the EU.
Keywords: EU regional disparities · economic and social reconstruction · subsidiarity · regional institutional innovations