On 16 October 2019, the Directors-General responsible for Territorial Cohesion met in Helsinki to discuss the first draft of the renewed Territorial Agenda – the main policy document in the field of European spatial planning at intergovernmental level. Besides EU and EFTA member states also the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, ESPON, and various local and regional interest groups attended the meeting.
The Directors-General discussed the main storyline around two overarching objectives for spatial development over the next 10 years
- a Just Europe that offers future perspectives for all places and people, and
- a Green Europe that protects our common livelihoods and shapes societal transition processes.
By promoting inclusive and sustainable development, the current draft of the renewed Territorial Agenda acknowledges the relevance of increasing spatial inequalities and societal imbalances as well as of increasing environmental pressures and climate change for spatial development in Europe.
The Directors-General plan to develop pilot actions putting the Territorial Agenda into practice. These actions shall illustrate the added value of spatial planning and the spatial dimension in policy making and implementation. They shall be implemented at different scales and inspire more players to develop and come forward with more ideas and proposals for new actions.
In line with this approach, the Directors-General responsible for Territorial Cohesion and the Directors-General responsible for Cohesion Policy furthermore discussed the main constraints in deploying place-based policy responses and how to address these constraints.
As a next step, two Task Force meetings will take place: in early December 2019 in Helsinki under Finnish presidency, and in late January 2020 in Zagreb under Croatian presidency. At these meetings, the exact formulations of the renewed Territorial Agenda and its priorities will be discussed in detail to prepare the next meeting of the Network of Territorial Cohesion Contact Points scheduled for late February 2020 in Zagreb.
(Source: Finnish EU Presidency)