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publication February 7, 2020

Romania: Catching-Up Regions

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Catching-Up Regions Conference


Analytical work undertaken in recent years indicates that the performance of regions in the European Union (EU) is clearly linked to the performance of urban areas within the region. The most dynamic EU regions either have one or more metropolitan areas or urban agglomerations within their boundaries, or they are close to one in another region. Without strong urban areas, it's impossible to have strong regions.

All EU Member Countries, including Romania, must have a stronger focus on cross-sectoral and inter-jurisdictional approaches. They must respond better to the needs of territories that may not be defined by one clear administrative boundary.

In pursuance of this - and to guide the design of the Sustainable Urban Development for the 2021-2027 Programming Period - the World Bank undertook extensive research covering the following areas:

 

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Sectors for Inter-Jurisdictional Cooperation

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The report identifies intervention areas/sectors in which there could be intrinsic added value for channeling EU funding through municipalities, FUA /metropolitan and/or regional associative bodies (such as inter-communal development associations, regional development agencies, etc...) in place of, or in addition to, national authorities responsible for functions such as health, tourism, energy, education, social services, urban and metropolitan/regional transport, competitiveness and support for SMEs and innovation.

 

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Inter-Jurisdictional Cooperation Models

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The report analyzes the need for an overall or sector-specific form of territorial cooperation (such as metropolitan inter-communal development associations, project-oriented partnerships between TAUs, etc...)  for instances in which EU funding can be organized at the subnational level. These forms of cooperation could come to complement or supplement the 2014-2020 model used for EU funding, which focuses only on the administrative territory of the eligible municipalities.

 

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Organizational Models for Inter-Jurisdictional Agreements

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The report identifies five suitable organizational models (dedicate priority axis under a national operational programme; dedicated national operational programme for large metropolitan areas; integrated territorial investments; dedicated national operational programme for 39 county residences; eight regional operational programmes, each with a dedicated axis for urban development projects), which have subsequently been discussed with relevant stakeholders in Romania.

 

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Strategic Requirements for Organizational Models

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The report provides an outline of the potential strategic requirements that should/could be put in place to respond to the requirements of the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy, but also to requirements implied by the proposed five organizational models, such as:

  • Integrated urban development strategies/plans;
  • Strengthened administrative capacity, at different levels;
  • Integrated financial arrangements;
  • Decentralization;
  • Identification of risks and associated mitigation measures.

 

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Final Report

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The report synthesizes the key takeaways and recommendations from each of the previous four reports, and comes-up with a set of additional proposals, using additional data and information.

 

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Metropolitan Romania

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The report provides a number of recommendations for strengthening metropolitan areas and urban agglomerations for regional and national growth in Romania.