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INTRODUCTION

The public administrations in the member states of the EU underwent a strong convergence process, since the implementation of EU common policies depends mainly on the performance of national administrations. The so called European administrative space became a rather informal project relying on the relationships between the different tiers of governance (multilevel governance, MLG), as well as on the elaboration of common procedural and professional standards. The European cohesion policy has had an intensive invasive effect on national administrations especially of Eastern-Central European countries explained by the strong motivation to acquire development resources eligible for less developed regions. The Europeanization and conditionalism was generated therefore directly by the management regime of the Structural Funds. As a result of European principles of subsidiarity and partnership, including the regions into the decision-making processes of the Union, the regions became more virulent factors of multilevel governance. The delimitation of the so called NUTS 2 regions in compliance with the regulations by the European Union has become in several countries the basis of territorial reforms of public administration. The establishment of various regional consultative bodies following the principle of partnership has been also popular, providing governance innovation for public administration. However the motivation of accessing and acquiring European resources takes a stronger effect on their ambitions concerning the regional tier than any other driving forces. EU membership, in the broader sense, had not provided sufficient motivation for the transformation of the territorial distribution of power. The phenomenon of regionalism and regionalization is therefore not always identical with political decentralisation and not dependant on the geographical scale of units, either. National characteristics strongly differentiate the meso-tier administrations, and no general schemes for territorial integration. Central-East European countries shall therefore take their own way in order to achieve the desirable status of goodness of fit between the European regionalization and the domestic regionalism The new democracies in CEE and Western Balkan countries have implemented public administrative reforms in the last two decades in order to adapt to the European requirements. Not just the designation/delimitation of the new public administrative boundaries is interesting but also the shift of power among the levels and actors emerging in several public policy fields and especially in regional development. The rescaling process has been accompanied by new forms, techniques of

governance bringing more horizontal elements into the traditionally vertical and bureaucratic administrative system of post-communist countries. The changing boundaries, scales and actors could be an innovation contributing to the modernisation and decentralisation of the territorial governance but these could be also the driving forces of centralisation, client-networks. We have to emphasise that there is a shift in Europe concerning regionalism at least in political sense. The region is no longer a miracle; it is time to investigate without illusionsthe processes and the consequences of regionalism in Europe in order to be able to envision the future. There are useful lessons for countries of the Balkans facing public administrative reforms which must find the proper internal driving forces of modernisation and decentralisation if they wish to avoid the traps of the slavish imitation of patterns. This applies especially to countries whose EU accession date is still uncertain. Several factors influence the development of public administration systems in the countries of the Balkans and main trends can only be detected by studying long-term experience. Although requirements and impulses coming from the EU do exert a great influence in the spirit of third wave conditionalism, countries must implement their public administrative reforms in an entirely different milieu. However it is not evident that regional decentralisation is the only effective instrument of modernisation, finding the proper model and way of the public administrative reform will, very likely, be neither simple nor quick. The European cohesion (or regional) policy underwent several changes during its almost four decades existence and referring to the new label of territorial cohesion it seems that new directions will start again after 2013. In the recent programming period the relatively rapid economic development in the new member states concentrated in the capital cities and in their immediate surroundings enabling them to compete internationally. This led to deepening regional disparities and to lessening the resources for catch up of the rest of the country. Thus Central-Eastern European new member states are suffering from much sharper regional polarisation. The fiscal and economic crisis in Europe and globally has also direct negative impacts on regional disparities and also on the resources and autonomy of the regions, and even on central governments. Economic performance tends to vary much more across EU regions than across EU countries. The question is which kind of cohesion policy do we need, and what kind of governance models do CEE countries shall follow in order to absorb subsidies more efficiently? In the mirror of new regulation of European cohesion policy it seems that it will enhance participative democracy, regional, or place based decentralisation contributing to the improvement of economic competitiveness together with the strengthening of social cohesion among and within the regions at the same time. The concerns however are crucial whether the contradictory interests, actors,

overlapping domestic and European policies could be limited in order to launch much clearer and strongly integrated cohesion policy after 2013 providing more competences for the territorial governments? Not only the main objectives and logic of the future cohesion policy are still vague but the governance system and policy tools as well. National governments are likely to be enthusiastic neither about regional decentralisation nor stronger competences for the European Commission. The concept of governance has undergone major changes because of emerging challenges, each other have been triggered by: globalisation, the redefinition of conventional authority based on sovereign states, hence the diversity of trans-boundary issues. Solution at European level on these challenges has been the regionalization that implies that geographically close countries, which have in almost cases a similarly historical, political and socio-economic context taking collective decisions. The goals of regionalization were and are economic competitiveness, accelerate reforms and regional integration. Regionalization was determined internally by ethnic elements for example, but the main element that determined this process was emphasizing by an externally character, access to the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Funds and cross-border cooperation. The objectives to be achieved through EU funds at the regional level were not expected. Some of the goals have been achieved but for many countries decentralization is carried out at a formal level, the disparities among regions were maintained and interregional cooperation has been achieved often by asymmetrical and temporary situations of regions. An efficient inter-regional cooperation depends very much on the social, political, even cultural context, for example the lack of trust it is a major problem in reaching a cooperative solution. If neighbouring countries, because of past problems, do not trust each other, they may fail to reach a cooperative solution, with each trying to maximize the gain from the regional public good and losing because of the spill over effects that are not taken into account in the decisions of the various parties. Other constraints that Romania enhanced since she is a part of European Union is coming from complexity and the financial requirements on reaching a cooperative solution. The international economic and political context is much more complex and it induces to regions the need to collaborates intensively, as the regionalization process becomes more profound regions are determined to work together to identify and solve problems that cant address individual. Regional cooperation and integration is a process through which national economies become more interconnected regionally. Regional cooperation and integration plays a critical role in accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and economic disparity, raising productivity and employment,

and strengthening institutions. It narrows development gaps between developing member countries by building closer trade integration, intraregional supply chains, and stronger financial links, enabling slow-moving economies to speed their own expansion. Regional cooperation is the current cornerstone at European level that had determined the appearance of regional governance, a complex new hierarchical level that aimed sustainable and harmonious development of the European Union, taking into account existing regional peculiarities. An adverse consequence of the liberalization of markets is increasing the regional disparities, this fact is obvious even in the absence of many of studies on regional disparities. Regionalization is the new way for nations to achieve the economic progress by developing their potential using financial resources, know-how and expertise coming from both internal and external environment and another great advantage is that decisions on regional issues are taken closer to the citizens. With EU accession states have dropped some autonomy on certain areas. These areas are strategic for the existence and development of the European structure but this fact creates tension between the actors involved in accomplishing public policy. In addition to pressures from local and European level adds global and the network level pressures. Regionalization can be interpreted as a response to the pressure that comes from the phenomenon of globalization, although globalization implies increased dependence from the external world regionalization implies the return of decision-making power at the local level and capacity development that fits to the profile and identity of region. Regionalization and inter-regional cooperation led to a several controversial issues like: decentralisation and devolution provide relevant autonomy for them for regional institutions, and if this institutions are able to stop the negative consequence of globalisation. The subsidiarity principle does support the growing autonomy of the regions? How decide if regions make the best decisions for them? It is also important to clarify the situation of cross-regions and macro regions (Baltic, Danube, and Mediterranean) that develops along Europe in the same time with decentralization and separation.Regional construction is part of the same issue with the decentralization and separation or its a quite a distinct aspect of European evolution? Another controversial aspect that could emerge from this: sustainability of MGL in Europe, what problems may occur? How they can be prevented? And about how much influence and representation of the regions within the different national and supranational institutions may European institution have?

The future of inter-regional cooperation under the 2020 strategy follows these objectives: SMART, GREEN and INCLUSIVE GROWTH; an economy based on knowledge & innovation; the European countries should use their resources more efficiently, in a more environment-friendly way and to be more competitive; high employment economy delivering social and territorial innovation cohesion. More tolerance, variable geometry of governance systems, tailor-made institutions can provide a chance for CEE countries for learning not just imitating in shaping of their good governance systems. The conference organised by NISPAcee in Belgrade in 2013 offered platform for discussion on state of the art and the future of regionalism especially point of view of central-and South Eastern European countries and beyond.