OECD Territorial Reviews: Champagne-Ardenne, France 2002

The Champagne-Ardenne region in the north-east of France enjoys comparative advantages in a number of sectors, including mechanics, metalworking, packaging and agriculture, and of course Champagne. Although it still ranks fifth among French regions in terms of GDP/capita, Champagne-Ardenne lost ground during the recession of the early 1990s.

This report analyses the strategy conducted by the Regional Council to strengthen the catching-up process and diversify the regional economy. It insists on the need to focus on two prime engines of growth: entrepreneurship and foreign direct investment. Moreover, increasing the competitiveness of the region calls for special efforts to help Champagne-Ardenne move towards more knowledge-based economic activities, to stimulate research and to encourage SMEs to network and innovate. While a better balance between agricultural policies and rural policies needs to be found, the region also has an important role to play in fighting urban decay - Champagne-Ardenne is one of the regions in France with the largest proportions of total population living in sensitive urban zones.The report also suggests that the potential for urban development could be enhanced by encouraging co-operation among cities and fostering the establishment of urban networks.

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