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Fusing Regions? Sustainable Regional Action in the Context of European Integration

Fusing Regions? Sustainable Regional Action in the Context of European Integration NORDIC RESEARCH PROGRAMME 2005 - 2008: Internationalisation of regional development policies – Needs and demands in the Nordic countries. REPORT:8

It is commonly argued that European integration has and will continue to present challenges for Nordic regional policy-makers located both inside and outside the Member States of the European Union. More and more Nordic regional actors have concluded that the European Union represents a political and not just a financial resource worthy of greater attention, and many continue to refine how they can get the 'best out of the European Union'.

This Report is a detailed 'bottom-up micro-study' of three Nordic regions, and is distinctive in arguing that – by using innovative Regional Action and Fusion approaches – a clearer understanding of the functional activities of regional actors can be gained. The Report, bringing together an international team of researchers, investigates the types and forms of functional activity undertaken by regional actors when handling European Union questions. It also examines the attitudes and future ambitions of regional actors and aims to help them to understand more clearly what they do now, and reflect upon how they might improve in the future.

The Fusing Regions? research reveals notable variations in activity among our three regions, combined with evidence in all three cases of a strong desire among regional actors to continue to further harness the benefits of European integration partly as a means to 'bypass' the nation state and to develop closer relations between their respective region and the European Union.