Impact Of Structural Funds On Regional Competitiveness: The Case Of Bulgaria
In the current knowledge driven economy, countries, regions and even cities strive to be competitive in order to
survive in the new global marketplace and the new economic competitive environment, without any clear political or
conceptual framework. Moreover, the process of European Union integration aims to increase the efficiency and
competitiveness of the fragmented European economy in the face of increasing internationalization, exposing countries and
regions with unequal resources and technology and different economic structures to international competition. Such is the case
of Bulgaria that, after joining the European Union in 2007, was given an opportunity to recover in terms of competitiveness
and economic growth, through structural funds as a form of nonrefundable financial help. In this respect, the paper aims to
analyze the relation between structural funds’ absorption and the degree of regional competitiveness for the six development
regions of Bulgaria, during the first programming period. The obtained results underline the critical influence of these funds
upon Bulgaria’s regional competitiveness, providing reliable data for policy decision makers.
Keywords- Competitiveness, Development Regions, EU Structural Funds, Regional Competitiveness.