Regional Development, Policy and Governance in the EU

Third year module

The 21st century brings with it a new phase in the policy approach of the European Union towards the problem of uneven territorial development. Successive enlargements have meant the widening of regional disparities but, with budget constraints and the enlargement of the EU, it means that the Structural Funds will are spread more thinly, making it more difficult for the European Commission to secure balanced economic and employment growth in Europe. Introducing students to the economic and political dynamics of the European Union, the linked modules critically examine the problem of uneven development and EU policy for the balanced and harmonious economic development of the EU, to question whether social, economic and territorial cohesion is achievable. Drawing on experience in the West Midlands, the course shows how EU policy impacts on the UK, in the light of the debates about regional economic development, policies and governance. In Semester I, students will learn about the establishment of the EU and its institutions as a prelude to looking at the nature of the problem of uneven development in the European Union. In Semester II, students will learn about the Structural Funds, and the extent to which they can secure economic, social and territorial cohesion in an integrating Europe and will explore a number of related industrial, competition and employment policy issues as the EU strives to secure the economic growth and development of the EU economy.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module the should be able to:

  • Understand the economic and political dynamics of the European Union;
  • Critically evaluate theories of regional development and the influences, from Europe and the rest of the world, on regional development in Europe and the United Kingdom;
  • Display a knowledge of the development of European Union regional policy and its application in the UK;
  • Appreciate the limitations of EU Structural Funds in securing economic and social cohesion in the EU.