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Countries struggling with systemic and economic transformation must respond to new external challenges and, at the same time, restructure internal political and social relationships. T����������������������������������������������������������������������� ransformation has been aptly characterized by György Enyedi (1998, 6), as a situation of rapid institutional change within an environment of insecurity, political instability and rapid socio-economic polarization. In remarkable contrast to the expectations of modernization theory proponents after 1989 (see Przeworski 1991, 2000) transformation has acquired a logic of its own, shaped by adverse, if not antagonistic, interests.
It is here – at least theoretically – where the EU’s multiple objectives of economic dynamism, efficiency, democracy and empowerment translate into concrete development projects. Indeed, for over thirty years regions have represented a central focus and addressee of EU policies. The European Regional Development Fund was established in 1975 in order to address industrial crises and underdevelopment within member states. With the establishment in 1988 of the Structural Funds (in effect consolidating all regional and sectoral aid programmes within one policy instrument), regional policy was essentially de-nationalized; the EU assumed a major role in defining specific target areas and regional problems to be addressed.
G. geographical), criteria but rather in terms of what can be termed social construction. Within this perspective, New Regionalism emphasizes the socio-cultural, historical and (geo)political bases for region-building; regions are ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Ann Markusen’s struggles with ‘fuzziness’ and the debate it engendered as captured in the 2003, 37 (6–7), issue of Regional Science makes for particularly uplifting reading. Systemic Transformation 23 thus as much a product of discourse as they are a territorially defined space on political maps (Häkli 1998, Paasi 1991, 2002).