Harnessing globalisation for local and regional authorities: Challenges and possible solutions

29-09-2017

Globalisation has various positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, economic opportunities can emerge. Exports may flourish, companies may find new global customers, knowledge may be easily circulated, and trade may pick up, thus stimulating economic growth. Interaction through new technological instruments helps to interconnect people in different parts of the world. However, globalisation may also have disadvantages. For instance, various EU industries (e.g. coal, steel, iron, shipbuilding, automotive and textiles) have been affected by global competition, and have had to downsize their activities. Cheap imports of non-EU manufacturing goods have led to the decline of various EU industrial sectors, but also to relocations, closures and redundancies. In addition, globalisation has an environmental, demographic, technological and cultural dimension. The impact of globalisation therefore affects the activities and development of regional and local entities within the EU. In order to address all these issues, the European Commission has presented a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation. This briefing addresses some of the most important challenges that globalisation brings to EU regions, and sets out ideas that may be useful in tackling these challenges. Harnessing globalisation requires a holistic approach. European, national and local synergies will have to be established to address the multi-layered challenges stemming from globalisation. Serious thinking will have to be done on how to empower local and regional authorities in order to address these challenges successfully.

Globalisation has various positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, economic opportunities can emerge. Exports may flourish, companies may find new global customers, knowledge may be easily circulated, and trade may pick up, thus stimulating economic growth. Interaction through new technological instruments helps to interconnect people in different parts of the world. However, globalisation may also have disadvantages. For instance, various EU industries (e.g. coal, steel, iron, shipbuilding, automotive and textiles) have been affected by global competition, and have had to downsize their activities. Cheap imports of non-EU manufacturing goods have led to the decline of various EU industrial sectors, but also to relocations, closures and redundancies. In addition, globalisation has an environmental, demographic, technological and cultural dimension. The impact of globalisation therefore affects the activities and development of regional and local entities within the EU. In order to address all these issues, the European Commission has presented a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation. This briefing addresses some of the most important challenges that globalisation brings to EU regions, and sets out ideas that may be useful in tackling these challenges. Harnessing globalisation requires a holistic approach. European, national and local synergies will have to be established to address the multi-layered challenges stemming from globalisation. Serious thinking will have to be done on how to empower local and regional authorities in order to address these challenges successfully.