Southern regions found lacking in new Commission index

Campania, of which Naples is the capital, ranked particularly poorly in the index. [Unplugged/Flickr}]

Publication of the EU’s social progress index (SPI) has shown that many areas of the bloc still have work to do at a regional level. EURACTIV Italy reports.

The SPI, complied by the European Commission’s regional policy wing (DG REGIO), ranks the social progress made by the bloc’s 272 regions, by evaluating various factors.

The index is built up from three dimensions: 1) basic human needs; 2) foundations of well-being; and 3) opportunity, which are in turn split into four further components. The scores given in these resulting 12 areas then determine the region in question’s final score.

“As it is intended to complement measures based on GDP, income or employment, it purposely leaves such indicators out of the index,” the Commission explains.

Producing the SPI is intended to help region’s realise where they have made progress and in what areas they still need to improve, in order to reach the targets set by the EU’s regional development strategy.

The latest SPI showed that regions in Romania and Bulgaria have undergone the least social progress, while Scandinavian and Dutch regions performed best. Austrian, German, Luxembourgish, Irish and British regions fared well, as did certain areas of Belgium, France and Spain.

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However, southern areas in Italy and Greece performed particularly poorly. The regions of Campania, the capital of which is Naples, and Sicily were ranked very lowly by the index. Campania was found wonting when it came to education, access to the Internet and pollution levels. It was adjudged to have made progress when it comes to tolerance towards immigrants and homosexuals, as well as improving its safety record regarding traffic deaths.

Sicily did equally poorly regarding education, and also came up short where water quality and sewage treatment were concerned.

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The index also showed that the link between SPI and GDP becomes weaker the higher the latter gets. So capital regions such as Brussels, Prague and London have relatively low SPI’s compared to their GDP, while regions such as West Wales and parts of the Netherlands scored higher than their GDP per capita would suggest.

The SPI is currently just in its draft stage; stakeholders have been invited to comment on the way in which it has been compiled and a final version is expected in October.

Regional SPI

Regional SPI

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