Strengthening economic and social cohesion by reducing disparities between regions in the EU is a clear objective of the EU. The Treaty of Lisbon, signed in 2007 and currently in the process of ratification, introduces a third dimension: Territorial cohesion.
The EU harbours an incredible territorial diversity. As an objective, territorial cohesion is all about ensuring that people are able to make the most of the inherent features of the areas in which they live. No European citizen should be disadvantaged in terms of access to public services, housing, or employment opportunities simply by living in one region rather than another. Territorial cohesion aims for more balanced and sustainable development.
To achieve this objective, an integrated approach is needed. This implies better coordination between sectoral policies at each level, from local to European. It also entails closer cooperation and improved connections. Many issues - climate change, migration - do not respect standard boundaries and could be better addressed through a more tailored response from several regions or countries.