Full text: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - 2018 Heft 2 (2)

BEGUTACHTETE ARTIKEL The Speeds of Europe – An Analysis of Regional Disparities Across the EU Ruth Fulterer, Ioana Lungu 1. Introduction In recent years, the euphoria over the „Project EU“ has been dampened. The financial recession, followed by economic stagnation, has over- whelmed European national economies: turning from a private debt crisis into a public debt crisis, it has created unemployment, cutbacks in social spending and discontent with European institutions, especially in periph- eral and rural areas. Perceived increases in inequality, as well as uncer- tainty, have reshaped the narrative of European integration. In order to save the European Union from dissolution in an era where nationalistic in- terests seem again to prevail, the idea of a multi-speed Europe has re- cently been re-emphasized. However, that concept conveys different ideas and interests, depending on who brings it to the table. The first section of our paper is dedicated to a short overview of Euro- pean regional development policies, after which we then turn to a quantita- tive analysis of regional disparities across Europe and show their evolution over time in terms of regional GVA, labour productivity and employment. We analyse the dispersion of income over time using the Theil index of concentration for different periods of time and regions. We then decom- pose the index in different ways – looking at differences within and differ- ences between countries as well as regions. Finally, we assess what these disparities are related to and show the extent to which differences in em- ployment and productivity rates contribute to disparities and the different speeds of different regions. Analysis is conducted on a NUTS II level for the time-span 1991-2014, using data from Cambridge Econometrics. Spe- cial attention is paid to the different phases of European integration, re- gional development policies and to the different paths of development of the weakest regions of different countries. Thus, we shed light on the ac- tual multiple speeds of Europe and draw conclusions about what 44. Jahrgang (2018), Heft 2 Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 169

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