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Interactive charts and maps - Regional breakdown: the NUTS classification

All regional statistics are based on the territory studied. Eurostat, in collaboration with the other Commission departments, set up the Nomenclature of Statistical Territorial Units (NUTS) at the beginning of the 1970s as a single, coherent system for dividing up the European Union’s territory in order to produce regional statistics for the Community. For the latest status of NUTS, please see the RAMON classification server on the Eurostat Internet site.

For around thirty years, the implementation and updating of the NUTS classification was managed under a series of “gentleman’s agreements” between the Member States and Eurostat, sometimes after long and difficult negotiations.

Work on a Regulation to give NUTS a legal status started in spring 2000. This NUTS Regulation was then adopted in May 2003 and entered into force in July 2003. A first amendment to the NUTS Regulation due to the 2004 enlargement was adopted by Council and Parliament in autumn 2005. An amendment to the regional breakdown in existing Member States, following the rules of the Regulation, was discussed in 2006 and adopted in early 2007.

NUTS subdivides each Member State into a whole number of regions at NUTS 1 level. Each of these is then subdivided into regions at NUTS Level 2, and these in turn into regions at NUTS Level 3.

The NUTS classification system has a criterion that lays down the following minimum and maximum thresholds for the average size of the NUTS regions.

Level Minimum Maximum
NUTS 1 3 million 7 million
NUTS 2 800 000 3 million
NUTS 3 150 000 800 000

Besides the Member States all EFTA countries have a division into statistical regions, which is similiar to the EU’s regional classification system.

Hungarian regional breakdown

In order to advance the adjustment to the regional policy of the European Union, the system of planning-statistical regions was worked out. It was enforced by Act XCII of 1999 and LXXV of 2004 modifying Act XXI of 1996 on Regional Development and Regional Planning. These regions represent the second level of NUTS.

Changes compared to the previous NUTS classification under the Commission Regulation (EC)
No 105/2007 of 1 February 2007

Data are presented according to the regional classification in force since 1 January 2008, which is the first revision of the NUTS system, revisions taking place every three years. Compared to the system of 2003, the previous version of the classification, changes occurred at NUTS level 2 in the case of Denmark, Germany, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

The most significant change occurred in Denmark, which country was a single region at NUTS level 2 previously, but consists of 5 regions according to the present system. The names of the new regions are Hovedstaden, Sjælland, Syddanmark, Midtjylland and Nordjylland. In Germany the former regions of Dessau, Halle and Magdeburg merged as Sachsen-Anhalt. Slovenia formerly was a single region at NUTS level 2, which split into two regions. The new Slovenian regions are called Vzhodna Slovenija and Zahodna Slovenija. In the United Kingdom the boundaries of the regions of North Eastern Scotland and Highlands and Islands were changed.

Bulgaria and Romania became members of the European Union on 1 January 2007, which resulted in changes for regions in both countries. In Bulgaria the borders of five of the six NUTS level 2 regions were changed, the only exception was the southwestern region (Yugozapaden) around the capital. In Romania there were no territorial changes at NUTS level 2 but the names of three of the eight regions were altered.

Turkey and Croatia as candidate countries have developed their NUTS system, which is also presented on the maps.

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