OECD Regional Outlook 2014

Regions and Cities: Where Policies and People Meet

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Regions and cities are on the front lines of many challenges faced by OECD countries today, from education and jobs to health care and quality of life. Getting regions and cities “right”, adapting policies to the specificities of where people live and work,  is vital to improving citizens’ well-being. This second edition of the OECD Regional Outlook aims to help countries do just that. Part I describes the main trends and challenges today. Part II has a special focus on cities, looking at public investment, urban framework policies, and rural-urban issues. Part III presents a Policy Forum on the future of cities, with five contributions from distinguished authors and policy makers. Part IV offers profiles of regional development in all 34 OECD countries.

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There have been increasing decentralisation efforts in recent years. The regions have acquired more powers, starting with the 1997 Kapodistrias reform of local and regional government, transforming into fully separate entities under the 2010 Kallikratis plan (Law 3852/2010; effective from 1 January 2011). Thirteen regional governors and councils are now popularly elected (for a five-year term). Their mandate is to plan and implement policies at a regional level, according to the principles of sustainable development and social cohesion, taking into account national and European policies. Still, many responsibilities remain within the central government’s secretariats and the regions rely on transfers for funding. Some metropolitan functions have been allocated to Attica and Thessaloniki (Central Macedonia) within their corresponding regions. The Kallikratis reform reduced the number of municipalities from 1 033 to 325.

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