METREX, the Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas, organized its yearly conference in Riga/online on 30 September and 1 October 2021, with the title „Metropolitan area formation aspects in transforming countries”. The first keynote presenter was Iván Tosics, followed by Paul Gerretsen and Charles Landry. Ivan’s concluding remarks were as follows.
There is no unified Central European Approach on Planning Metropolitan Regions existing. After 45 years of socialist development the fragmentation of the local governments and market processes prevailed. Planning has weakened and metropolitan cooperation was not at all on the agenda in the Central and East European countries.
Although since 2004 the countries are again under a joint socioeconomic framework, the EU initiatives towards metropolitan development were not strong enough.
Planning remained subordinated to national policy making in the post-socialist Central and East European countries. EU messages are diverted according to national political interests: some countries support metropolitan development while others forbid metropolitan authorities, being afraid of the expansion of urban governments.