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For the current programming period, the previous INTERREG Community initiative was transformed into the new objective on "European Territorial Co-operation" (mainstream of European Structural Funding). In future, and to a much greater extent than was previously the case, transnational projects will have to meet the challenge of generating strategic benefits, as far as possible, for the entire co-operation area in question.
Project duration: December 2006 - December 2008
With the adoption of the Lisbon and Gothenburg Strategy the EU member states aim at making the EU the most dynamic and competitive economic region in the world by 2010. The financial funding of measures and projects by the EU structural policy is a tool to implement this superordinate objective. (Sectoral) policies therefore more and more have to be seen in their spatial context and have to be integrated accordingly. Thus, future transnational cooperation in the field of spatial development will be much more focused on the implementation of the Lisbon and Gothenburg Strategy.
The future transnational projects therefore face the special challenge to develop approaches that help to achieve the targeted objectives within their specific spatial context. The cross-sectional integration of different sectoral policies and administrative levels into the project work will be of high relevance against this background.
The latter aspect is especially highlighted by the "Territorial Agenda of the EU" that has been adopted under the German EU Presidency in May 2007. The Territorial Agenda of the EU aims at mobilising the potentials of European regions and cities for sustainable economic growth and more jobs by providing recommendations for an integrated spatial development policy.
Against this background, it is important to focus the funds of transnational programmes to an increasing degree on those projects that promise to have a strategic value for the whole cooperation area and that at the same time comply particularly with the objectives at various policy levels.
"Strategic" in this context means special quality attributes of transnational co-operation projects. These are beside the orientation towards superordinate medium- and long-term strategies at European level (Lisbon and Gothenburg Strategies, Territorial Agenda) also the orientation towards objectives of the Member States that ideally are in line with territorially relevant objectives at other spatial levels.
A more strategic orientation of projects in the future provides the opportunity to focus transnational co-operation much more thematically and structurally and to intensify the co-operation between the local, regional and federal level.
Departing from the original project objective of preparing particular strategic projects, the objective was shifted to the question which kind of contribution could be made for the co-operation areas to support the discussion on strategic INTERREG projects as an outcome of the research project and which starting points for strategic projects could be developed. In the end, the project objective was the observation of the different approaches to develop strategic projects in the co-operation areas and to contribute to this process based on the findings of a project selection and analysis. In the same way there was the objective to optimise projects in the co-operation areas against the background of the findings from the research project.
The research project was carried out by Institute of Spatial Planning (IRPUD), Dortmund University of Technology in cooperation with Dieter Meyer Consulting GmbH, Oldenburg.
Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development
Division RS 3 "European Spatial and Urban Development"
Phone: +49 228 99401-2330