Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Case Study: The Region of Dalmatia & EU Policy

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Dalmatia is a coastal region located in the southern most part of Croatia. Dalmatia is considered to be a historical region and is not recongized as an administrative region. The territory itself has seen changed throughout history, however the Dalamatia we know today formed as a Venetian territor on the eastern Adriatic by the late 17th and early 18th century.

Dalmatia is also know by some by its contemporary region name of Southern Litoral and can be further divided into four adiministrave counties.

Administrative Counties

Dubrovnik-Neretva County

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County is the southern most adminstrative county of the Dalmatia region. 

It can be further divided on a local adminstrative level with 5 main cities and 18 municipalties.

The county seat or the county capital is the city of Dubrovnik. This is the center of all regional self-goverence.

Important economic activity in this county is tourism and cross border economic activity with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Split-Dalmatia County

The Split-Dalamtia County is located just about the Durovnik-Neretva County. The country is divided into 16 cities and 39 manicipalties.

The county seat or county capital is the city of Split. The most important economic activity in the county is tourism. The county has seen a decline in the manufacturing and agriculture.

Šibenik-Knin County

The Šibenik-Kinin County is the north centeral county in Dalmatia located about Split-Damatia county.

It is further divided into 5 cities and 15 municiplaties with the county seat located in the city of Šibenik.

The economy in the region centers around trade, tourism and construtcion and manufacturing.

Zadar County

Zadar county ecompasses the nothern most part of the region of Dalmatia.  

The county is further divided into 6 cities and 29 municiplaties with the county seat located in the city of Zadar.

Much like the rest of the Dalmatia region, Zandar county relies on tourism for its economy.

EU Regional Policy in Dalmatia

Croatia is a relatively new member to the EU, and therefore there has been a lot of implementation of EU Policies within the country to prepare it for full membership. One of the main driving forces was the IPA (Insturment for the Pre-Accesion Assistance) Regional Development Programs that were set in motion from 2007 until 2011. 

There were 3 main IPA programs set in Croatia: The Environmental Operational Programme (EOP), the Transportation Operational Programme (TOP) and the Regional Competitiveness Operational Programme (RCOP). 

The first two programs (EOP and TOP) put strong emphasise on creating better infrastructure within the entire country and to help the country come up to EU standards. The third program, RCOP, put more focus on the individual regions. For the purpose of this case study, this is where we place our focus.

IPA Regional Competitive Operational Porgramme

The RCOP for Croatia contained three priorties. 

Priority 1: The improvement of development potential of lagging behind regions. This put focus on the 10 least performing counties in Croatia. Two counties from the Dalmatia region are included in this program: Zadar County and Šibenik-knin County.

Priority 2: The enhancement of competitiveness of the Croatian economy. The main focus of this is to put focus on SMEs and improve upon the business envrionment in Croatia. This was done through the support of SMEs and the fostering of business through the development of clusters and cooperation.

Priority 3: Technical Assistance. This is self explanitiory and covers the aspects of implementation and mangement of the program.

The IPA RCOP program was originally planned to run between the years 2007 and 2011, however was extended until 2013. The program funded 40 programs of various sizes in different counties.

Some of the programs that took place within the Dalmatia region:
Business related infrastructure- Both in Zadar and Šibenik-knin County.
Completion of the Faust Vrancic Memorial Center - Šibenik-knin County.
Development of commerical infrastructure at the KOSA Commerical Szone - Šibenik-knin County.

A full list of all 40 programs can be found here.

The IPA programs have been considered a success in Croatia, especially in the areas pertaining to infrustructure.

Cohesion Policy

The IPA programs are now finished, and have been replaced with EU Cohesion Policy. In Croatia there are two main operationa programmes which are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Again funding for projects in the less developed regions is a feature of this, which directly impacts the Dalamtia counties of Zadar and Šibenik-knin County. Dubrovnik-Neretva County and Split-Dalmatia County will also benefit from the parts of the program that include all counties, such as programs for infrastructure and tourism.

The Cohesion Policy programmes in Croatia are set to run from 2014 until 2020. Approimately €8.6 billion has been allocated in policy funding.


Monday, April 6, 2015

European Studies Defined

What is European Studies?

I am asked this question repeatedly since I started my bachelor program back in 2007. At that time, I really couldn't answer. After graduating, many asked me what I had a degree in. When I answered European Studies, again most asked, and what is that?

My answer? I have no clue. I took European Studies at SDU when the program was still very young (only in it's second year), and it was very undefined. I took a mix of courses ranging from cultural identity, EU law, micro and macro economics to internet economics. I wrote my bachelor degree on EU environmental law.

The program was such a mess that the entire program was restructured the year I graduated. It was such a mess that it was difficult finding a masters program in Denmark I could take. The Masters program in Sønderborg did not exist. There was a program in Flensborg, but I just wasn't interested at the time. So I left the topic for 4 years.

So now I am taking European Studies again, and again the question comes up. However the topic has matured over the last few years. It has become more defined, yet it is still very broad.

Here is my definition of European Studies:

The study of modern europe with emphasise of the EU and it is role in the formation of a modern Europe.

History, although an important aspect in the overall scheme of things, is not key topic in the study. And by History I mean anything before the world wars. In fact, I have taken little or no history courses and probably never will.

Topics in European studies are somewhat numerous. It can be studied from a cultural, political, historical, geographical or economical perspectives.

The definition to European Studies is individual depending on the persective they choose to study it with.

European Studies defined by my masters program

Although I say that European Studies can be very broad, the Masters program I am enrolled in is very specific. The program has strong focus in border and regions (and border regions). The definition of these two things are a whole other post, and in many ways the focus of the program so far. 

I am unsure of how interested I am in it on the larger scale of things, however, having focus in the program is a good thing. I am finding the topic interesting and it is nice to focus on one or two areas instead of a dozen. It is also well catered to the department that is teaching it, and I am finding that the teaching is better applied than what I saw before.

What will I use it for?

Generally speaking, I am not sure what one could use this program for other than perhaps working in regional development with an EU project or if you are going to study further. I would not call this a useful study UNLESS you have very speficial goals in obtaining a specific job in the topic. That is just my personal opinion.

Specifically to me? Why will I use it for? Nothing. 
It has always been a personal goal of mine to receive a Masters degree. I don't need a job. I own my own business. A lot of the jobs available in the sector I just not an option without relocating. I have 4 children aged 5 and under. This is not an option for me, nor something I am interested in.

I am doing this out of personal interest. I do find the topic interesting. In all honestly I would love to study further. I would love to earn a PhD at some point. However I don't see this happening. Timing perhaps is bad. I don't think it is possible to earn a PhD spot, as I don't think I will have the grades to earn me it. Again, this plays down to the 4 children. Their needs and the needs of my family come first and my studies suffer from this.

But perhaps one day. Who knows. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015


My name is Desirae.

I a 29 year old Canadian living in Denmark with my husband and 4 small children. It has always been a goal of mine to complete and earn a Masters degree.

From 2007 to 2010 I studied the Eurpean Studies program at SDU at the bachelor level. Between 2010 and now I have relocated twice, and am now living in a small town not far from the city of Randers.

I decided that it was time to complete my Masters program, and opted to study once again with SDU because it gave me the option to complete most of my studies at home.

My original plan was to attend classes at least once a month down in Sønderborg, however due to illness and hard recovery of the birth of my daughter in August 2014 I have been unable to do so.

So, now I start this blog as a way to study, present and also communicate with others that are a part of my study program.

I will admit, I am incredibly behind. But hopefully I will be able to catch up.

And with that.. welcome to my blog.

Here is a bit of what I hope to post here:

-Summaries of readings
- Anything else I may find interesting relating to the topic of European Studies.