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How to strengthen the territorial dimension of ‘Europe 2020’ and the EU Cohesion Policy

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Report based on the Territorial Agenda 2020 prepared at the request of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union by Kai Böhme, Philippe Doucet, Tomasz Komornicki, Jacek Zaucha, Dariusz Świątek

With the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty territorial cohesion joined the ranks of the key policy aims formally recognised in the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. What are the practical implications of such an important policy move? At the very least those responsible for EU policy making should feel prompted to address some important questions.

What is the role of territory in achieving the goals of ‘Europe 2020’? How should the EU territory be developed: through a mix of sectoral policies or rather by accepting a place based approach as suggested by Barca. What type of European territory would we like to have in the future? Should we simply accept the ‘inevitability’ of uneven territorial development or, on the contrary, should an ambitious policy be carried out to provide equal opportunities for regions all across the EU? Is, moreover, the provision of EU structural funding to the less well-off regions sufficient to achieve this goal, or are additional complementary steps needed to enable these regions to take up the challenges they currently face? To what extent can the EU territorial cohesion model contribute to the achievement both of the goals inscribed in the Treaty and, over  the next decade, ‘Europe 2020’ goals such as sustainable development? Answering these questions is essential, not only for us but also for future generations, since territorial change often proves virtually irreversible.

 
 
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