Within the European Union, the Czech Republic with a population of ten million is a medium-sized country, taking up a position of geographic, economic and political importance across Eastern Europe. The country's industry, transport, and settlements have an essential bearing upon the environment of a number of other European states, and its transport network is of immediate importance to the economy of central European countries and their competitiveness in the development of large industrial, entrepreneurial and innovation orientated clusters. Following 1989 the Czech Republic has undergone significant political, economic and social changes, culminating in the accession to the European Union on 1st May 2004. Growth continued in the first years of EU membership and it was relatively unscathed from the financial crisis of 2007–2010, largely due to its stable banking sector which had experienced and learnt from a smaller crisis in the late 1990s. As a fraction of the GDP, the Czech public debt is amongst the lowest across Central and Eastern Europe. However, as a large exporter, the economy was sensitive to the decrease of the demand in Germany and other trading partners. These issues affected the situation in Czech regions which had the possibility to enhance their competitiveness under the EU funding of 2007-2013. It is against this backdrop that the seminar will address the following questions: What are the experiences of recent regional development programmes? What strategy is to be set out for the new programming period 2014 - 2020? What is the role of relatively geographically small and politically unstable countries within at the EU scale?
University of Economics in Prague,
Faculty of Economics and Public Administration,
Department of Regional Studies.