Territorial Cohesion

Danuta Hübner"Last autumn, with the publication of the Green Paper, I had great pleasure in launching the debate on territorial cohesion. This initiative was in response to the demands from the European Parliament, the ministerial meeting in Leipzig in 2007 and the contributions that many stakeholders made during the public consultation on the 4th Cohesion Report. The paper also builds on the Territorial Agenda and its Action Programme, approved under the German and Portuguese Presidencies during 2007.

The goal of the ensuing debate has been to come to a better and shared understanding of territorial cohesion and its implications for policy.

Looking back, the first discussions on territorial cohesion, in the early 1990s, had already been fruitful. They emphasized the importance of territorial cooperation and territorial trends, which led to the cooperation programmes (INTERREG) and the establishment of European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON). The Green Paper goes on to argue that the territorial diversity of the EU is a vital asset that can contribute to the sustainable development of the EU as whole. To turn this diversity into strength, we have to address territorial cohesion through focusing on new themes, new sets of relationships binding EU territories at different levels and new forms of cooperation, coordination and partnerships. These ideas constituted the main issues for the proposed debate.

  • Viewing cohesion from a territorial angle calls attention to themes such as sustainable development and access to services. Also underlining that many issues do not respect administrative boundaries and may require a coordinated response from several regions or countries, while others need to be addressed at a local or neighbourhood level. Building on the experience of the European Territorial Cooperation objective we can now look at the ways to further improve the co-operation between regions within the Union and with the neighbouring regions outside.
  • An integrated place-based approach pursued by Cohesion Policy is ideally suited to respond to complex and strongly embedded issues, such as regional development but in order to maximise synergies better coordination with sectoral policies is necessary. Territorial cohesion also stresses the added value of partnership with a strong local dimension, which ensures that policies are designed and implemented with local knowledge.

I am convinced that the on-going debate on territorial cohesion can help us to improve those policies which contribute to the competitiveness of our territories, the well-being of our citizens and the quality of our environment.

Finally, I would like to thank the hundreds of citizens and organisations who have given their time to submitting the many valuable contributions we received in response to this public consultation. A summary of the findings will be published as part of the forthcoming 6th Progress Report on social and economic cohesion, scheduled for June."

Danuta Hübner

Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion – Turning territorial diversity into strength

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Annexes pdf en

NUTS 3 Regions Classification 2009 en

Public consultation from 06 October 2008 to 28 February 2009 (now closed)

Results of the consultation

View the contributions en

Inforegio Panorama magazine n°28

Territorial samhørighed"Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion - The way ahead"

Portal of the Territorial Agenda of the EU en

The Cooperation Platform for Territorial Cohesion (COPTA) was designed to support information and communication among all concerned with the Territorial Agenda of the EU and its implementation process. COPTA Website en

"Territorial Cohesion under the Looking Glass" - Andreas Faludi

"Territorial Cohesion under the Looking Glass" - Synthesis paper about the history of the concept and policy background to territorial cohesion - Andreas Faludi - 2009 pdf en

Commissioner Samecki broadens debate on Territorial Cohesion to the scientific community

Commissioner Samecki broadens debate on Territorial Cohesion to the scientific community en fr de pl

Urban-Rural linkages enhancing European territorial competitiveness Seminar - 17 September 2008

This seminar provides the opportunity for the Commission, Member States, local and regional governments and stakeholder organisations to reflect on current research and practice in the area of urban-rural linkages and territorial competitiveness, and also to identify ‘what works’ (and conversely what doesn’t work) and to consider how this can be effectively transferred between territories.

Website of the Seminar

Urban-Rural linkages fostering sustainable development in Europe Seminar - 23 January 2009

The issue of urban-rural linkages is furthermore part of the ongoing work on territorial cohesion. Action 1.1a of the First Action Programme for the Implementation of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union is dedicated to urban-rural relations and the incoming Czech Presidency will follow up this point. Discussion on urban-rural linkages is foreseen at the international conference on the future of cohesion policy and territorial cohesion 26-27 March 2009 in Prague organised by the Czech Presidency. Furthermore, following the experience with the Urban Audit, EUROSTAT proposes to create a database with an increasing range of data at NUTS-3 level. This information could then be used as building blocks for calculating various aggregates like data for rural and urban areas.

Website of the Seminar

How to cope with the social exclusion issues in the Urban-Rural context Seminar - 02 July 2009

The issue of urban-rural linkages is part of the ongoing work on territorial cohesion and the First Action Programme for the Implementation of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union includes an action point dedicated to urban-rural relations that is being followed up by the Czech Republic.

Website of the Seminar

Territorial Cohesion and Territorial Cooperation Seminar - 25 September 2009

Taking stock of the 391 contributions to the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion, this seminar was devoted to the cross-border, transnational and interregional strands of territorial cooperation, and their relation to territorial cohesion. Representatives from the Commission, the Member States (Sub-Committee of the Committee for the Coordination of the Funds dealing with Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters), EU-funded programmes and stakeholders animated the discussions." en

"Territorial cohesion: unleashing the territorial potential" - 10/11 December 2009

Territorial cohesion: unleashing the territorial potential pdf

Background Document to the Conference on Cohesion Policy and Territorial Development: Make Use of the Territorial Potential! 10-11 December 2009, Kiruna, Sweden

Territorial cohesion: what scales of policy intervention? - 12 March 2010

Follow up of Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion 2nd TCUM session Seminar

Territorial cohesion: improving policy coherence on the ground - 2 July 2010

3rd Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters seminar

Cohesion Policy support for local development: best practice and future policy options - April 2010

DG REGIO has undertaken a study and organised expert workshops to examine and discuss the scope for reinforcing ERDF support to Local Development Methodology. The study with its collective analysis and reflection process has resulted in a series of considerations and questions concerning organisational models, provisions, technical arrangements, as well as their internal coherence. The final report is available in English pdf and French pdf.


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