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Economic restructuring, regional development and the environment: ecological modernisation and the European Union's Structural Funds

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During the past 15 years, the European Union's Structural Funds programs have sought to integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of regional development. This new approach to regional restructuring has taken place within the context of other EU policy initiatives on sustainable development and spatial management. This paper investigates the influence exerted by ecological modernisation thinking on the evolution of Structural Funds programs and considers the consequences of this change in approach. A final section of the paper identifies some of the advantages associated with the new approach and suggests a number of areas that require further theoretical and operational development.

Keywords: ecological modernisation, regional development, spatial management, sustainable development, policy integration

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