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regional policyin the law of the EUROPEAN UNION, a body of rules that seeks to redress inequalities among the regions (which need not be states) within the community. The idea is to balance the effect of the other rules of the community in favouring certain regions at the expense of others. The SINGLE EUROPEAN ACT (SEA) formally incorporated the policy into Community law although it had been recognized for some time. It operates through the EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (ERDF). The SEA attempts to coordinate various Community schemes to be more effective in assisting less developed areas of the community. It seeks to assist where economic development is very retarded against the Community average, deals with industrial decline and assists the long-term unemployed as well as assisting rural areas. In its latest phase it encompasses issues such as sustainable development, urban development and even supporting the peace process in Northern Ireland. As well as the ERDF, the Social Fund supports projects. Economic, social and geographic cohesion are now main aims and there is a cohesion fund also available to support this aspect of regional policy.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006