A Post-Mining Regional Strategy for Western Macedonia
This Case Study addresses the Action of the Special Development Programme (SDP) of the Western Macedonia Region, in Greece. The Action is funded through a levy on the turnover of the Public Power Corporation, based upon the energy production at the local level. SDP met the region’s long-standing and fair demand against the environmental degradation due to the use of a non-renewable energy resource such the lignite. Seen in this “top-down” respect, the Action could promote under certain conditions, distributive and procedural spatial justice.
Assessing, however, the overall outcomes derived by a “bottom-up” approach as well as the extent to which the Action manages to pave the way for the transition of the region towards an alternative development path, the developmental footprint, could have been much greater. Undoubtedly, the Action has left a positive imprint in terms of spatial justice. Given the dramatic de-carbonization rates by 2020 and 2030, the dominant spatial justice constraints can be attributed to the lack of visionary leadership and clear vision of “where we want to go”. Crucial drivers proved to be a centre-periphery pattern, localism, and temporary political benefits in view of the next election cycle. As a result, SDP was not treated, longsighted, as a golden opportunity for the region to prepare for a smooth transition from the lignite era to a new growth model. Against this background, the EC maintained a high degree of supervision within a “one size fits all” model, ignoring the many particularities of each locality.