Inspire Policy Making by Territorial Evidence
  • GROSEE - Growth Poles in South-East Europe

    Thematic scope

    The economy of South-Eastern Europe is lagging behind most of Europe. Recent studies have highlighted the emergence of a second area after the Pentagon with a high concentration of economic activities. This emergent area is situated in Central Europe but does not reach South-Eastern Europe.

    The project shall study the three main growth poles in South-Eastern Europe - Athens, Sofia and Bucharest - their relation to the European core development areas, their competitiveness and the role that the three capitals can have individually as well as together in the European polycentric network as economic drivers of South-Eastern Europe. A key factor in the project is the cooperation of the capitals with surrounding territory. Furthermore, as accessibility has a great impact on competitiveness, the project should assess alternatives to overcome the long distances in order to improve the accessibility of South-Eastern Europe and its competitiveness.

    The project aims are in line with the objectives of key policy documents such as the Territorial Agenda of 2007, the Territorial Agenda 2020 and the Green Paper for Territorial Cohesion, which highlight the importance of polycentric development in achieving territorial cohesion and enhancing the competitiveness of areas outside the European core.

    Please read more about the main areas of analysis and main results envisaged.


    • Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism – Romania (Lead Stakeholder)
    • Ministry for Development, Competitiveness and Shipping – Greece
    • Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works – Bulgaria

    Main stakeholder interests

    The following questions shall be addressed:

    • What is the role of Bucharest, Sofia and Athens in the European polycentric network?
    • What does the accessibility of these cities look like and how can it be improved? What is the efficiency of European transport corridors?
    • What are the main drivers for competitiveness in the three capitals? Do metropolitan areas play an important role as drivers for competitiveness in the region?
    • What are the key policies and measures that can be taken to support an emergence of a competitive area concentrated on the Bucharest - Sofia - Athens triangle?

    The added value of the project will consist of:

    • A focused view on the most important growth poles in South-Eastern Europe and an identification of policy measures that can improve their competitiveness and accessibility.
    • A deeper understanding of the relation of the case study areas with the European urban network.
    • More detailed knowledge of these cities as metropolitan areas.

    Lead Partner

    University of Bucharest, Romania

    Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups

    Budget : € 360 000.00

    Project’s lifetime: February 2012 – July 2013

    Delivery of Reports
    Inception Report: 28 June 2012
    Interim Report: 31 January 2013

    Draft Final Report: 15 September 2013
    Final Report: 28 February 2014

    Reports will be published once they are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee

    More information
    Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
    Michaela GENSHEIMER, e-mail:



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