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Conducting fieldwork in 33 case studies constitutes the empirical core of the RELOCAL project. In order to decide cases among the large variety of intriguing localities all over Europe, it has been developed two-step procedure. The first phase is the so-called ‘pilot phase’ where eight cases are analysed: these pilots are suggested on the basis of the main ambitions as well as local knowledge of the partners responsible for empirical case study work. Further considerations of welfare regimes, social systems as well as the larger region’s socioeconomic background will be included when the final choice is made. Finally, field work in the pilot cases starts in October 2017. The second phase begins in Spring 2018 with the remaining 25 cases. This phase is essentially based on the experiences and interim results of the pilots.

The selection of case study localities consider different policy environments that characterise the European Union. Case study locations will thus be chosen to allow for a balanced representation of different institutional contexts, manifested in terms of five welfare regimes. These are: Society-based Model (Finland, Sweden); Individual (UK); State-based (Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands); Familial (Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy) and Transitional (the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe: Hungary and Poland).

Preliminary work in Nord-Pas-de-Calais

University of Luxembourg team undertook a one-week exploratory fieldwork in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in France in June, particularly interviews with local and regional stakeholders around Dunkerque, Lille and in the former Mining Basin were done. The objective was to identify interesting local initiatives, which will be followed-up more intensively during their fieldwork in 2018. UniLux is planning another exploratory fieldwork at the Luxembourg-Lorraine border in September.

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