North Europe: EU neighbourhood - territorial analysis

Cooperation with neighbouring countries has long been an important issue for the European Union and processes of globalisation and regionalisation have fuelled the growing interest in this topic. After all, the EU encourages economic activity and territorial development across internal and external EU borders by promoting cross‐border and transnational cooperation with neighbouring countries. It thus does not come as a surprise that after some initial reluctance, the ESPON research programme now pays more attention to the EU’s external border and to territorial development in, and connections with, the external neighbourhood.

The EU’s external neighbourhood is all too often regarded through a simplified view: great natural resources on the one hand, and especially energy, migration pressure and political unrest on the other hand. A sound knowledge base on territorial development in the EU’s neighbourhood, and interaction with this neighbourhood, should therefore be developed in order to provide the wider analytical context to facilitate the regional integration processes.