Fostering inclusive growth to ‘level up’ the UK: Lessons from the Basque Country


This event, hosted by UK think tank the Foreign Policy Centre will seek to extract lessons from the Basque Country and to share best practice.

Fostering inclusive growth in order to ‘level up’ prosperity across the UK and reduce regional inequality has become an important policy agenda for the UK Government. There remain many questions, however, regarding how exactly this can be achieved. This Aston Centre for Europe and Foreign Policy Centre event seeks to extract lessons from the Basque Country, a region in northern Spain renowned for its inclusive economic transformation, and to share best practice.

As a once heavily industrialised region that was ravaged by the economic crisis of the 1970s, the Basque Country developed a new economic model based on competitiveness and solidarity over subsequent decades, thanks to which it features among the leading regions in Europe in terms of GDP per capita and has among the lowest rates of poverty and social exclusion. Moreover, since the turn of the century, a variety of stakeholders – both public and private – have worked in an ever more dynamic fashion comprising top-down, bottom-up and horizontal processes to continually update and revisit the region’s strategy for inclusive economic development. What factors have been key to the success of the Basque Country’s territorial strategy? How exactly has the region’s dynamic approach to strategy design and implementation worked? What opportunities has it posed? And how – or to what extent – have any challenges and difficulties been overcome?

Understanding these dimensions in a well-developed regional success story such as the Basque Country has the potential to offer important lessons for the range of regional and local stakeholders in the UK who are being invited to play an active role in designing and implementing a ‘levelling up’ strategy. This event will also offer the opportunity to consider what scope there is to deepen collaboration between prosperous regions in Europe such as the Basque Country and regions of the UK to address today’s economic challenges.

Panellists:

Dr Edurne Magro, Senior Researcher at Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness

Bill Murray OBE, Adviser, Global Counsel; Former Head of Economics and Public Policy at the British Embassy in Spain

Dr Igor Calzada, Senior Researcher, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), Cardiff University; Urban Transformations ESRC & Future of Cities Programme, University of Oxford; UN-Habitat – Digital Transformation in Urban Areas

Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Director of Economic Strategy, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

Chair: Dr Caroline Gray, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, College of Business and Social Sciences at Aston University

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