Regional development is a new concept that aims at stimulating and diversifying economic activities, stimulating investments in the private sector, contributing to decreasing unemployment and, last but not least, a concept that would lead to an improvement in the living standards. In order to apply the regional development strategy, eight development regions were set up, spreading throughout the whole territory of Romania. Each development region comprises several counties. Development regions are not territorial-administrative entities, do not have legal personality, being the result of an agreement between the county and the local boards.
Regional development policy is an ensemble of measures planned and promoted by the local and central public administration authorities, having as partners different actors (private, public, volunteers) in order to ensure a dynamic and lasting economic growth, through the effective use of the local and regional potential, in order to improve living conditions. The main areas regarded by the regional policies are: development of enterprises, the labor market, attracting investments, development of the SMEs sector, improvement of infrastructure, the quality of the environment, rural development, health, education, culture.
The main objectives of the regional development policies are as follows:
- to reduce the existing regional disparities, especially by stimulating the well-balanced development and the revitalization of the disadvantaged areas (lagging behind in development) and by preventing the emergence of new imbalances;
- to prepare the institutional framework in order to comply with the integration criteria into the EU structures and to ensure access to the financial assistance instruments (the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund of the EU);
- to correlate the governmental sector development policies and activities at the level of regions by stimulating the inter-regional, internal and international, cross-border cooperation which contributes to the economic development and is in accordance with the legal provisions and with the international agreements to which Romania is a party;
The principles that the elaboration and the application of the development policies are based on:
- decentralization of the decision making process, from the central/governmental level to the level of regional communities;
- partnership among all those involved in the area of regional development;
- planning – utilization process of resources (through programs and projects) in view of attaining the established objectives;
- co-financing – the financial contribution of the different actors involved in the accomplishment of the regional development programs and projects.