Scientific and Technological Objectives of the
1. Examine the consequences that European enlargement - as part of
a historical process of integration - have had and will have upon the
enterprise strategies in labour intensive industries.
Specifically, the proposed study will explore
The extent and nature of delocalization patterns in Europe;
The multitude of entrepreneurial strategies developed by enterprises
in EU and accession countries in order to confront the opportunities
and threats emanating from the changing competitive environment;
The ability of accession countries to tap into opportunities and
confront threats that emanate from future entry into the EU,. In
this context attention will be paid to drawing a comparison between
countries that will be part of the first wave of enlargement and
those that will follow in consecutive waves;
The mosaic of inter-organisational relationships (including linkages
of ownership, sub-contract and simple relations of exchange) at
a European-wide level.
A key consideration within this objective will be the examination of
the impact of differential accession time upon early and late entrants.
Moreover, particular emphasis will be placed in the identification of
parallel, converging and often contradictory trends emanating from a
variety of influences: namely globalisation; the forthcoming enlargement
of the EU; attempts at international cooperation at the sub-Continental
level; and industrial restructuring resulting from advances in technology.
2. Does European enlargement exacerbate inequality between, as well
as, within regions dependent heavily upon labour-intensive industries?
This objective aspires to investigate the distributional effects of
the two processes currently underway throughout Europe, i.e. the growing
European integration (in particular among the EMU countries)? and the
enlargement process. Within this context, particular emphasis will be
placed upon the employment implications of the restructuring reported
in labour-intensive industries, which traditionally attracted people
with modest skill endowments and limited alternative opportunities elsewhere.
The key consideration revolves around the workforce and whether, women,
very young workers and marginalised socio-economic strata and members
of the ethnic communities - that historically accounted for the bulk
of the workforce in the industry - are able to benefit from new employment
and income generating opportunities. The above considerations have already
become extremely pressing for the accession countries, and those pressures
will most probably increase when the EU enlargement will actually take
Another issue that will also be explored within this objective is whether
Europeanisation offers solutions or intensifies considerations about
job losses associated with global integration.
3. To identify instances of successful adjustment of enterprises and
regions to the changing global environment.
It is widely acknowledged among academics and policy-makers that there
is considerable disparity in the ability of firms and localities that
are heavily dependent on labour-intensive industries to address change.
Throughout Europe, celebrated success stories exist alongside instances
of industrial demise and employment decline. However, successful adjustment
at the regional level (often associated with diversification to new
industries) may be synonymous with the demise of the industries under
investigation. Within this context, this project aims to develop a set
of indicators of success at the sectoral and regional level and use
them in order to evaluate adjustment. Our paramount objective is to
study the enabling factors that facilitated these developments and explore
their replicability elsewhere in Europe.
4. To assess the appropriateness of existing policy initiatives and
governance structures, at the European, national and regional level.
This will focus particularly upon
The comparison of existing governance structures in different
national and regional settings, and the examination of their effectiveness
within specific geographical and industrial contexts;
The comparison of policy initiatives aiming towards labour intensive
industries at the European, national and regional level. The underlying
reasons behind the review of existing policy will be the identification
of gaps or overlaps in the provision of policies;
The identification of conflicting policies between nations or
regions and the extend to which supranational policies might lead
to more comprehensive measures;
The evaluation of the effectiveness of policy and the reasons
why policy intervention may be more successful in certain socio-economic
A project financed by EU: