Integration and Convergence in Regional Europe

20-06-2013 | Publication

Place-based smart specialisation strategies are one of the prerequisites to access Structural Funds as of 2014. However, policy research analysing regional smart specialisation strategies has been hampered by data deficiencies. This is particularly the case for empirical evidence on interregional relations that are central in these new policy initiatives. As a solution to this problem, we propose a bi-regional panel data set that describes the most likely trade flows between European regions, given all the available information, and is consistent with national accounts over the 2000–2010 period.

European Regional Trade Flows from 2000 to 2010

From this data set, we derived that European regions are subject to increases in internationalisation and integration. In contrast to earlier findings, we found that not only the main economic eastern European centres but all eastern European regions are catching up with the rest of Europe. The banking crisis in 2008 resulted in a significant decline in trade between European regions and countries outside Europe, with a strong recovery immediately afterwards. Trade between European regions, however, permanently remained at a lower level, indicating the persistence of the crisis.