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2019 RSA CEE Conference Plenary Speakers

Metropolises and Peripheries of CEE Countries: New Challenges for EU, National and Regional Policies

Plenary Session: Polarisation and peripheralisation in CEE


Dr Thilo Lang, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Department for Regional Geography of Europe, Germany: “Responding to increasing socio-economic Polarisation in CEE”

Thilo Lang is Head of Department at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig, and lecturer at the Global and European Studies Institute of the University of Leipzig. He completed his doctorate in Human Geography at University of Potsdam, Germany and at Durham University, UK. His research interests include polarisation processes at multiple levels, innovation outside agglomerations, regional change, transnational comparative urban and regional studies, and shrinking cities and urban regeneration.



Professor Ilona Pálné Kovács, Institute for Regional Studies, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary: “Governance turn and territorial polarisation in CEE countries”

Ilona Pálné Kovács is a reserach professor at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Science, and a full-time professor at the Department for Political Science and International Studies at the University of Pécs.

She graduated as a lawyer (1978), obtained a PhD (1988), had been appointed a doctor by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2000), followed by her habilitation (University of Pécs, 2003). She deals with the management of regional policy, regional governance and local governments and is a leader of a doctoral programme for political studies at the University of Pécs. Ilona conducted many domestic and international projects and has participated in several FP, ESF, INTERREG, TEMPUS, ESPON, UNESCO, CoR, DG Regio programmes. Several times she has been a member of think tanks of the national government and Council of Europe, Soros Foundation, World Bank, AER, preparing legislation and other documents, reports on local government, and regional development.

She was elected as a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2013. Having published hundreds of publications, one of her recent ones is: “Cohesion Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: the challenge of learning”, In: Piattoni, S. and Polverari, L. (Eds.) (2016) Handbook on Cohesion Policy and the EU, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 302-325.

Plenary Session: EU Cohesion Policy and CEE

Ronnie Hall BA D PHIL, formerly European Commission, Directorate General

Ronnie Hall worked for the European Commission from 1989 until 2018. His responsibilities were principally in the field of policy development in the Directorate General responsible for European Union regional and urban development policies (‘REGIO’).

Between 1999 and 2004, he was Deputy Chief Adviser to Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner responsible for regional policy at that time. In November 2004, Dr Hall was appointed director in REGIO, before assuming the role of senior advisor to the Director General in October 2012 with responsibility for International Cooperation on regional policy, chair of the Commission’s Northern Ireland Task Force and adviser to the annual European Week of Regions and Cities. Following official retirement from the Commission at the end of 2018, Dr Hall has since been retained by REGIO as Senior Expert on International Cooperation.

He has published various articles on European regional policy and a book with Alasdair Smith and Loukas Tsoukalis, Competitiveness and Cohesion in EU Policies (Oxford University Press, 2001). In 2005 he received an award from the French government as member (Chevalier) of the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur. In 2009, he was appointed as member (“academician”) in the British Academy of Social Sciences. During the second semester of the 2010-2011 academic year, Dr Hall was Visiting EU Fellow to the University of Miami. In 2015, the Regional Studies Association awarded him the inaugural Regional Leadership Award for Practice and Policy.


Dr Ekaterina Shlapeko, Institute of Economics of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Ekaterina Shlapeko is a research associate at the Institute of Economics of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, Russia). She graduated as an international relations specialist (2007), obtained a PhD at the Saint-Petersburg State University (2013), had been appointed an external relations specialist in the Petrozavodsk City (2009). She gained a comprehensive practical experience of cross-border work and initiated cooperation with public and private sectors within the international projects. Her current research work includes the study of cross-border cooperation (CBC) and CBC policy change (agenda-setting, formulation and decision-making), especially among the EU and Russian regions as well as the influence of historical experience on the creation of modern cross-border territorial images.



Dr Piotr Żuber, Warsaw University, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies and Ministry for Investment and Economic Development, Poland

Education: Master’s Degree in Geography (Warsaw University) and PhD in Economics. Academic (Warsaw University, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies) and practitioner in the EU cohesion policy, regional policy and territorial development issues. 25 years of professional experience in design, programming, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of national, structural, regional and EU cohesion policies. Former Director of the Department of Structural Policy Coordination in the Ministry of Regional Development, responsible for preparation of various programming documents regarding EU cohesion policy, national regional and spatial policy and national socio-economic strategies (recently Strategy for Responsible Development of Poland until 2020) as well as monitoring and evaluation of those documents and policy fields.

During Polish Presidency in the EU Council (2011) Chairman of the Structural Action Working Group working on legislative package on the cohesion policy. Member of various European and national bodies dealing with cohesion and territorial issues, including Committee for Spatial Development of Poland. Currently employee of Warsaw University, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies and on unpaid leave from the Ministry for Investment and Economic Development in Poland. Author of many publications concerning the EU cohesion policy, regional development and territorial matters.

Statistics Poland Plenary Session: New statistics – New Opening

Dr Dominik Rozkrut, President Statistics Poland, Warsaw, Poland

Having graduated from School of Economics and Management at the University of Szczecin (Poland), Dominik Rozkrut holds a PhD in economics, statistics, econometrics and time series analysis since 2003. Researcher at the University of Szczecin. He completed scientific internship as research assistant at School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts USA (2003) as well as internship at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland (2008, 2015) and UNU-MERIT (The United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology).

From 2008 to 2016 he worked as Director of Statistical Office in Szczecin where he conducted surveys on science, technology and innovations, information society as well as transport and communication. As a member of several intergovernmental working groups, he successfully manages statistical cooperation with international organizations in Europe and world-wide, leading works on various fields. He represents Polish official statistics in the high-level meetings within the statistical systems of various international organizations. In his capacity of Statistics Poland’s President, he presents Poland’s national position at European Statistical System Committee (ESSC), Conference of European Statisticians of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (CES UNECE), United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) as well as in the Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (CSSP OECD).

Dominik Rozkrut has also been elected as a member of executive or advisory bodies setting strategic work directions of the mentioned  international organizations. These are: European Statistical System Partnership Group (ESS PG), Vision Implementation Group (VIG), High Level Group on Quality (HLG-Q) and Friends of the Chair Group on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (FOC-FPOS). Moreover, Mr. Dominik Rozkrut is a member of the Editorial Committee of the ESS Report – a yearly publication on the achievements of the European Statistical System.

RSA Polish Section Plenary Session: Social and Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe: Stability and Change after 1990

Professor Grzegorz Gorzelak, Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw, Poland 

Grzegorz Gorzelak is a professor of economics, specialising in regional and local development, regional policies and strategy building. Until 2016, he has been the director of the Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG) at the University of Warsaw. He has coordinated several national and international research projects; the most recent ones are the ESPON TERCO project on territorial cooperation and the FP7 project “Growth – Innovation – Competitiveness: Fostering Cohesion in Central and Eastern Europe” (GRINCOH).

He has collaborated with the World Bank, OECD, DG Regio of the European Commission, and several agencies of Polish and Ukrainian governments, as well as regional and local authorities.

G. Gorzelak has published (as author and editor) over 50 books (several of them in English) and 260 articles. He is Editor-in Chief of a quarterly scientific journal “Studia Regionalne i Lokalne” and former president of the Polish Section of the Regional Studies Association.

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