Competitiveness and cohesion in Romania's regional development: a territorial approach
The assessment of the socio-economic disparities at the regional level is one of the priority development topics. In particular, in formerly socialistic-planned countries, the development driven by the transition period, the accession to the European Union and the economic crisis, the regional disparities are present. The main aim of the research has been to identify the most competitive and the most cohesive Development Regions in Romania by computing, mapping and analysing two secondary indices (Territorial Competitiveness and Territorial Cohesion). Overall, the investigation shows that economic performance is more consolidated in central and western regions based on their mature and innovative industries, better-developed services and urbanisation/suburbanisation processes, while the eastern and southern development regions, with predominantly rural traits, experienced a significant industrial decline and social deprivation. The most competitive Development Region is Bucharest-Ilfov, given the advantage conferred by Bucharest Capital City, the main economic and social polarising centre in Romania. For reducing regional disparities, the Cohesion Policy should allocate increased funds for countries with least developed regions. The study provides the result of quantitative and qualitative analysis on the regional-level territorial disparities in Romania that could easily be considered as guidelines in the decision-making process while trying to achieve the competitiveness and cohesion goals.