53rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional Integration: Europe, the Mediterranean and the World Economy", 27-31 August 2013, Palermo, Italy
At present we witness an increasing regional competition at global scale, pointing out the regions' permanent efforts to adjust to the new trends and to benefit from potential competitive advantages. In such a complex environment the situation of the winners and losers is very dynamic, an important distinction being made between absolute and relative winners (and losers) (Nijkamp, 1997). This paper discusses the case of the Bucharest-Ilfov region of Romania, which is regarded as one of the 'rising stars', a relative winner in the European regional competition. Bucharest ranks third in the top of CEE cities - best locations for businesses after Warsaw and Prague according to the European Cities Monitor (Cushman and Wakefield, 2011). It has close links with the Ilfov county surrounding area, an interesting functional specialisation - in line with global integration - being noticed at the level of the whole Bucharest-Ilfov (NUTS2) region. The paper explores the main features of the region's economy and its responses to the global trends, revealing the factors that support/impede the benefits of globalisation. It also formulates derived policy options in the context of the 2014-2020 financial exercise of the EU, considering the priorities of the cohesion policy for this period.