Helping European Countries Avoid Economic Crisis

Researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Planning and Geography are to explore why some regions are more able to withstand economic crisis than others.

The School is to lead a multi-national study exploring the economic resilience of regions across the EU. Financed through the EU’s ESPON research programme the 3-year project will establish which features promote regional resilience in the face of economic crises, and how regional authorities can strengthen the resilience of their region.

The resilience of regions to economic crises has been an important issue across the EU since the start of the current financial crisis. Whilst national and international conditions dictate the overall headlines, some regions have proved more able to withstand economic shocks, whilst others are able to recover more rapidly. Understanding what underlies these different responses will have important implications for future EU regional policies.

The study will look at data for all EU regions, and neighbouring countries such as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Croatia. It will also closely examine the situation in eight areas of the EU from Germany, the UK, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Estonia, Poland and Greece. The project will explore regional responses to economic crises, as well as moves to reposition economies towards new growth trajectories. The study is of importance to both policy and academic audiences, and Cardiff University is pleased to be at the vanguard of international work in this area.

Having a better understanding of factors influencing how the economy can respond to wider economic events, and the policy decisions affecting this, will be beneficial to all those involved in seeking to stimulate the future economic performance of the EU.

Led by Dr Gillian Bristow and Dr. Adrian Healy from the School of Planning and Geography, the study involves researchers from HTWK-Leipzig, Aristotle University, University of Taartu, University of Gdansk and the University of Manchester, working alongside Experian Plc.


The ESPON 2013 Programme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the EU Member States and the Partner States Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It supports policy development in relation to the aim of territorial cohesion and a harmonious development of the European territory. The Managing Authority responsible for the ESPON 2013 Programme is the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures, Department for Spatial Planning and Development of Luxembourg.