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that cities and regions play an important role in improving the investment and business location climate and the local and regional labour markets ( European Commission 2005 ). The Dutch central government has asked the Sociaal Economische Raad (Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands – SER) how to generate the greatest synergies between the various authorities and between the authorities and other partners so as to increase their involvement in achieving the Lisbon targets. In its advice the SER concentrates on anchoring the “Lisbon ownership” on the level of
? Basingstoke 143 163
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developed more dynamically than most parts of the country ( European Communities 2004 ). The spatial concentration of economic development in a few national centres, however, is a dangerous threat for cohesion within economically lagging countries in their catching-up process: While regional disparities within the majority of highly developed CentralEuropean countries did not change significantly or even declined over the last years (especially in Germany and Italy the gaps diminished), the cohesion countries are confronted with growing inequalities: Figure 3 shows
between science and policy making, but also borders between the English and the French languages. For instance, the word “region” has different connotations in English and in French, where it is more specific and generally refers to the supra-local scale, as well in the domain of public policy and the academic world. See the definitions for "local" and "region", given by Levy/Lussault (2003 : 573, 777). This misunderstanding also exists in the area of cross border cooperation with regard to the notion of a Euro-region, which is viewed differently in CentralEurope
updated spatial planning principles revealed shifts in the underlying constitutive logics of metropolitan regions, including the introduction of cross-border metropolitan regions ( MKRO 2014 : 10).
Spatial Planning Concept Growth and Innovation. Source: BBSR (2006)
Table 2 shows the way in which terminology and central concepts in German metropolitan policies have undergone a change in recent decades from a negative to a positive framing. The introduction of European metropolitan regions marks a shift from a problem-oriented, analytical or
perspective is, however, also one of context and comparison. Surely in comparison to other European regions, the Northern Netherlands seem rather centrally located and performing comparatively well. The example of the Northern Netherlands shows that peripherality is also a matter of perception: while the Dutch Northern provinces may be peripheral from a national perspective, they feel more closely connected to other regions in North-East Europe due to a common cultural heritage.
The international ambitions of the Northern Netherlands are, however, undoubtedly fuelled by