The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: The territorial dimension of future EU cohesion policy

Project briefing

With the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the objective of territorial cohesion has been explicitly added to the EU objectives of economic and social cohesion. With this step, the institutional preconditions for the integration of territorial objectives in EU sector policies were created. The research project "The territorial dimension of future EU cohesion policy" served to scientifically support the formulation of recommendations how to integrate territorial objectives in EU sector policies.
Project duration: December 2010 - March 2012

Background

The objective of territorial cohesion has obtained new policy relevance following its inclusion in the Lisbon Treaty. Although the 5th Cohesion Report, published in November 2010, has confirmed this new role, it is not yet decided how the objective of territorial cohesion will affect EU policies. Therefore, negotiations of the 2014 to 2020 EU budget as well as the focus of future Structural Funds will be crucial for the role of territorial cohesion in EU policies.

The integration of territorial objectives in different EU policies is anything but easy. Debates about cutbacks of the EU budget and of different EU sector policy budgets tend to aggravate this integration. Scarcity of resources usually goes along with a concentration on the sector policy’s main objectives and therefore hampers the consideration of additional concerns.

In order to strengthen territorial objectives, it is important to indicate how sector policies can benefit from synergies and policy efficiency increases. Furthermore, the latest global economic and financial crises have stressed the importance of territorial solidarity and cohesion for the highly integrated Single European Market.

Objective

This project aimed to illustrate how the principle of territorial cohesion can be integrated in different EU sector policies. Therefore, EU policies, which highly affect cities and regions, such as regional policy, environmental policy and transport policy as well as other relevant policies, were considered.

To achieve this aim, different understandings of territorial cohesion in the EU and especially in Germany had to be identified. Points of departure for elaborating these different understandings were e.g. the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion, the 5th Cohesion Report as well as scientific papers. Particular attention was paid to identifying territorial variety and regional development potentials with respect to different sector policies, considering specific territorial characteristics, pursuing fair access to infrastructure and services as well as governance processes.

The project assisted the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) and the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) in developing related proposals for integrating territorial objectives in EU sector policies. In addition, recommendations for the future orientation of transnational cooperation with respect to territorial cohesion had to be developed. Thus, the project supported the formulation of a German position for the next programming period's budget negotiations.

The research project was carried out by Spatial Foresight GmbH, Luxembourg, in collaboration with TAURUS ECO Consulting GmbH, Germany.

Contact

  • Brigitte Ahlke
    Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development
    Division RS 3 "European Spatial and Urban Development"
    Phone: +49 228 99401-2330
    E-Mail: brigitte.ahlke@bbr.bund.de

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