European Policy Development 2/2
This intergovernmental process has over the last years experienced a revival as all 27 Member States of the enlarged Union has adopted in 2007 a Territorial Agenda for the European Union. Ministers modernised the policy orientations of the ESDP and added stronger emphasis on (1) the competitiveness of regions and cities including creation of innovative clusters, (2) climate change concerns and (3) territorial cooperation and multilevel governance. The Territorial Agenda has been followed up by an ambitious Action Plan 1, which currently is under implementation involving Member States in carrying through several projects.
The European Commission has supported this policy process and gradually processed a policy response at European level related to the territorial development. This has first been visible in the 4th Cohesion Report that for the first time mentioned a new concept of “territorial cohesion” which in 2009 was ratified with the Lisbon Treaty.
In 2008 the Commission launched a debate publishing a Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion.This document puts a territorial perspective on economic and social cohesion setting the objective of a more balanced and harmonious development of the European territory. It focuses on 3 key territorial development dynamics: (1) Concentration, (2) Connections and (3) Cooperation. It pays as well particular attention to regions with specific geographical features.
The Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion is accompanied by a Staff Working Document and poses questions for a European wide debate that will run until 28 February 2009.
The next step in defining the future EU Cohesion Policy after 2013 is envisaged by a 5th Cohesion Report due to be published by the European Commission in October 2010.