NEW APPROACH TO REGIONAL COMPETITIVENESS AS INSTRUMENT OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The paper addresses a scientific and practical problem of how the regional characteristics referred to as competitiveness can be employed in enhancing the efficiency of planning its economic and social development. The aim of the paper is to substantiate the relevance of regional competitiveness concept as the objective of strategic development of the region. The first part of the paper presents statistical data of regional development in Lithuania. They illustrate that the current principles of organizing regional development fail to produce desirable results. The conclusion is that the paradigm of regional development focused on regional cohesion should be changed into the paradigm of developing regional competitiveness. The second part analyses the role of the regional competitiveness concept in the development process as well as its interrelation with regional cohesion. It was found that the functional approach to regional cohesion provides the possibility to declare competitiveness as one of the main objectives of regional development. The third part discusses such features of competitiveness concept as abstractness, relativity and probabilistic nature, which are to be considered in strategic planning by identifying competitiveness as an objective of regional development. Besides, the abstract nature of competitiveness concept enables creating operational definitions of competitiveness which can be practically used as guidelines (partial goals) of regional development.