The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: Competition: Networking successfully in Europe – jointly shaping cities and regions

Project briefing

  • Status Completed
  • Project duration November 2017 – November 2019
  • Programme MORO

Numerous success stories from international inter-city cooperation can be found - large cities and border regions already receive attention for their initiatives. But smaller towns and rural counties in Germany also benefit from synergies and inter-municipal exchange with European partners. Diverse European networking activities at all levels have a positive effect on the development of regions and cities and drive European integration. Through a competition, the project made visible successful examples that inspire further European networking activities.

Project duration: November 2017 – November 2019


Europe does not just mean free movement of people and transfer of goods across national borders or cooperation at member state and metropolitan level. Rather EU cooperation is a variety of interdependencies at all levels between individual countries.

Despite their differences, cities and regions in Germany and other European countries are often confronted with similar challenges and situations. Networking and cooperation offer a wide range of opportunities to meet challenges and to take advantage of opportunities together. Common concerns and interests build up valuable cooperation and partnerships between European regions and (smaller) towns.

Cross-national structural funding programmes at EU level help to realise this potential and motivate European networking. The objectives range from the mutual exchange of experiences to the joint representation of interests at EU level. Strengthening relationships forms a basis for creating common guiding principles, political programmes and longer-term projects.

Numerous success stories exist from international inter-city cooperation - especially large cities and border regions already enjoy attention for their initiatives. But smaller cities and rural counties in Germany and Europe also benefit from synergies and exchange with European partners. They strengthen cohesion across borders and can positively promote their own regional development through the exchange of knowledge or joint projects. With this in mind, small and medium-sized towns as well as small towns and rural counties were of particular interest in this project. The focus was not on actors who primarily exchange information bilaterally with their neighbours within an interdependent area, but on cities and regions with multiple networks in Europe. The project focused on European cooperation with regard to topics relevant to spatial development and was not limited to a specific (funding) instrument.


The objectives of the "Networking successfully in Europe" project were as follows:

  • competition: identifying and awarding prizes to German cities and regions that are intensively networked in Europe and have thus been able to gain advantage for their own regional development;
  • preliminary and accompanying study: identifying and analysing advantages, success factors and obstacles to European networking;
  • practical guide: developing and presenting transferable and motivating examples and approaches of how European networking can be successfully shaped at all levels;
  • recommendations: developing recommendations for action to promote networking.

The contractor of the research project was adelphi, Berlin.


  • Sina Redlich
    Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development
    Division RS 3 "European Spatial and Urban Development"
    Phone: +49 228 99401-2336

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