EU Cohesion policy in a global context
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The Commission Staff Working Document "Regions 2020 – An Assessment of Future Challenges for EU Regions" from November 2008 analysed the effect of global challenges on European regions. The paper led to a substantial discussion among stakeholders as well as the academic community, and the need for a follow-up analysis became clear. The adoption of the Europe 2020 Strategy in March 2010 reinforced the need for a follow-up study.
The follow-up study Regional Challenges in the Perspective of 2020 – Phase 2: Deepening and Broadening the Analysis" started in January 2010 and finalised in August 2011. The study was carried out by the OIR (Austrian Institute for spatial planning) and a number of other partners including Spatial Foresight, the Federal German Institute of Research on Buildings and Spatial Affairs, Pöyry and the Vienna University for Soil Sciences. The study uses an interdisciplinary approach which analyses the vulnerability of regions to different challenges. It also examines the capacity of regions to adapt to these challenges. The methodology was originally developed to analyse the effects of climate change by using biophysical indicators. This approach has been extended to other areas like economics, demography and energy. The examined challenges were globalisation, demographic change, climate change, secure, sustainable and competitive energy, social polarisation, and the economic and financial crisis. The analysis was carried out for European regions as well as for neighbouring countries.
Considering the variety of challenges, it becomes clear that a place based and regionally differentiated cohesion policy is required to reach a sustainable recovery path as envisaged in the Europe 2020 Strategy. Member States and regions would need to clearly capture, describe and communicate the regionally differentiated needs and vulnerabilities in order to provide tailor made answers to the actual challenges within the framework of Cohesion Policy.
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