University of agribusiness and rural development, International scientific and practical conference Bulgaria of regions 2018

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The New Challenges on Reshaping of Regional policy in Lithuania in Geographic and Demographic Approaches
Eduardas Spiriajevas

Last modified: 2019-01-21


The definition „region“ in Lithuania is associated with three types of territorial units: administrative units of the state territory of higher level – counties (apskritys); ethnocultural regions; territorial units where Lithuania’s national regional policy and the European Union’s cohesion/neighbourhood policy are implemented. Thus, the aim of the national regional policy is the reduction of regional socio-economic disparities within the country. The strategic provisions of Lithuanian national regional policy are incorporated into EU structural support programing documents.

Since 1995, the system of administrative-territorial units in Lithuania has undergone essential changes. In 1995, 10 new administrative-territorial units of higher level, named apskritys (counties) which corresponded to the NUTS III level units, were established for the performance of state administrative functions. Although, compared to the analogous entities in other European countries, those 10 new administrative-territorial units of the higher level were and still are relatively small. They are called regions in Lithuania in particular. According to the scientific classification of regions, the mentioned regions are attributed to the group of administrative regions. Later, in 2000 were detected a duplication of administrative regions with other public administration entities, and since 2008, a majority of the functions were devoted to municipalities.

Since 2008, discussions had been held in Lithuania concerning the possibility of abolishing 10 counties and establishing 3-5 regions intended to perform the functions related to state administration, national regional policy implementation and administration of the European Union support. The actual, practical steps were taken by the 15th Central Government in 2010, when it fulfilled the reform of the counties. The only result of that reform was the liquidation of part of the state institutions operating in the counties, but the administrative former boundaries of the counties still were determined as geographical ones of the regions. In January 2016, two additional statistical regions (corresponding to NUTS level 2) were formed: Capital region (consisting of Vilnius County) and Central-Western region (consisting of the remaining 9 counties within the country). Therefore, the problems of socio-economically and demographically based formation of the regions, they arise from a plenty of unsolved and unforeseen geographical questions related to efficiency of division of the country into two regions, which does not correspond to socio-economic, demographic, and even urban and cultural environments. The purpose of research is to reveal the preconditions for elaboration of 3-5 regions based on socio-economic geographic, demographic data with application of GIS functions on spatial analysis in order to maintain the alternative solutions of formation of the regions in Lithuania. The main result of research gives other alternative and critical approach in determination of 3 or 5 regions, which can facilitate the processes of implementation of regional policy in the country.


regional policy, planning, geography, demography, Lithuania

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