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New Opportunities for Regional and Local Actors in Croatia in Supporting Socio–Economic Development

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The paper looks at the impact the European Union accession and recent regional policy changes have on the possibilities of regional and local actors to influence development of their regions. The integration process inevitably brings new opportunities and challenges at local and regional levels. While increased funding for development projects is the most obvious expected impact of European Union accession, other potential benefits include institution building, a more active approach in formulating national policy frameworks, and the creation of new cooperation linkages. is paper describes recent changes in the regional policy approach, and assesses their impact on building the capacity of regional actors to design development policies. It examines the experience of regional and local actors with the Cohesion Policy in the new member states of South East Europe (SEE), and the accession and candidate countries. Particular attention is given to experiences of using the EU pre–accession funds, which are valuable in terms of learning and building absorption capacity for the implementation of development projects funded through the Structural Fund. Finally, some proposals are put forward for a more efficient and effective role of regional and local actors in the overall national development policy context.


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