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The establishment of the regional policy in Macedonia was needed mainly for two reasons. Firstly, the high level of disparities between the regions i.e. between the capital and the rest of the country plus the lack of integral approach aiming towards improvement of the development indexes of the less developed regions and secondly, the country received the EU candidate status and needed to synchronize its regional development priorities with the European standards as well as with the strategic goals provided by the Lisbon strategy. This strategy mainly consists of raising the long-run growth potential, improvement of the competitiveness between and within regions, development of close partnership by involving the authorities at the central, regional and local level and the social partners and civil society. The importance of quality regional development policy mainly consists of the financial implications, as it prepares candidate countries to use the Structural and the Cohesion Fund for regional development following their accession.
The incentive of the EU membership encouraged Macedonia to start developing the concept of regional policy following the new spatial division which generated the NUTS III regions1. At the present, the country is focused on implementing the created legal framework based on the Law on Balanced Regional Development, created in 2007, the objectives stipulated by the Regional Development Strategy adopted in 2009 being valid for the period from 2009 till 2019 and developing Multi-Annual Programs for each region. Simultaneously with the process of the policymaking, the country is oriented towards establishment of operational structure consisting of regional institutional network i.e. regional centers for each region and reinforcement of the capacities of the existing national institutions i.e. the Bureau for Regional Development.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a realistic presentation of the country’s effort for establishment of a good quality regional development policy in accordance with the European principles, to identify the existing problems regarding the functioning of the policy makers and the operational stakeholders as well as to provide suggestions for their enhancement. The paper also offers analysis of the core activities and projects destined to diminish regional disparities and attempts to reveal the basic issues arising in the implemented projects.
The methodology used for preparation of the present paper is based on the analysis of the existing national and European documents and reports, statistical data and other relevant information and literature.
Regions, regional development, regional development institutions, regional disparities, Macedonia
1. Regional disparities
2. Legal and institutional framework for balanced regional development
2.1 Legal framework
2.2. Institutional framework
3. Stimulation of balanced regional development
4. Conclusions and suggestions
Time stamp: 201205111255