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Volume XVI |

Measuring the Complex Socio-economic Development of the Danube-adjacent NUTS2 Regions

Abstract: The existing inner socio-economic discrepancies are one of the major stumbling-blocks to the sustainable development of the Danube region and to the successful realization of its different macro-regional development programmes, strategies, and action plans. That is why it is of extreme importance to assess these discrepancies on a complex base, going beyond the analysis of single indicators. From that point of view, we suggest that sophisticated methodology and approach are needed, similar to those used to elaborate thorough European spatial development models. In order to measure the current socio-economic spatial development of the Danube regions on a complex basis, we apply author’s “Development and Prosperity Index” (DPI) calculated by using the latest available data for 8 key indicators. By contrast with the majority of the scientific studies that build their conclusions on NUTS0, or rarely on NUTS1 level analysis, our research is suited at NUTS2 level so that we can take a detailed picture of the situation in the Danube region. Another significant difference from the mainstream studies is that we concentrate predominantly on the Danube-adjacent NUTS2 regions, but not on the whole area (as defined in the EU Danube Region Strategy). That approach provides us with an opportunity to divide the study in two important stages. Firstly, we make a comparative analysis and a classification of the Danube-adjacent NUTS2 regions providing empirical evidence for the significant complex socio-economic discrepancies between them. Secondly, in a view to estimate the development role of Danube in different countries, we confront the DPI results for Danube-adjacent NUTS2 regions against those for the other regions in a given country. Although this approach is characterized with certain conditionality considering that development is a function of many diverse factors, the results of the study provide solid ground for building up adequate future policies.

Volume XV |

Comparative Analysis of the FDI’s Spatial Localization Models in the Danube Provinces of Bulgaria

Abstract: The Danube provinces of Bulgaria are among the least developed NUTS3 regions in the country and in the EU. From that point of view, overcoming of their socio-economic underdevelopment is not only of particular interest for the Bulgarian regional policy, but is also at the base of realizing a successful strategy for sustainable territorial development of the cross-border region Romania-Bulgaria. Being a key factor in the discourse of regional development, the FDI should be scrutinized in a view to uncover the main regularities and trends in these provinces, as well as potentials and perspectives ahead of the separate administrative units. The analysis of some key indicators connected with the dynamics and distribution of the FDI stocks and their per capita ratio, with the FDI density, and with the proportion FDI-GDP, demonstrates the lack of a distinct and typical for all Danube provinces of Bulgaria trend in the investment activity. However, we find out a common feature in their spatial localization models – the predominant concentration of FDI in the regional centres. The study also discloses the correlations between sectoral structure and FDI supplies, as well as the FDI’s role for the changes in some key economic, social, and demographic indicators’ values in these provinces. The quantitative analysis’ results are complemented with qualitative characteristics of the processes as we put special emphasis on factors such as: the insufficient capacity for creating agglomeration effects; the lack of clusterization based on joint initiatives of the provinces; the relatively weak impact of the free trade zones and the industrial zones; the poor connectivity with the national transport system. The elaborated systematic territorial study of the foreign investments’ spatial models in the Danube provinces of Bulgaria is a solid base for designing/implementing a differentiated, adequate, flexible, and proactive regional and local policies.