In the second semester of 2021, Slovenia took over the presidency of the EU Council. The overall priorities of the Presidency are addressing resilience, recovery and strategic autonomy of the European Union; the Conference on the Future of Europe; a union of the European way of life; the rule of law and equal criteria for all; and a credible and secure European Union, capable of ensuring security and stability in its neighbourhood.
In the field of territorial cohesion and spatial development the key task is to continue and strengthen active implementation of the EU Territorial agenda 2030 and its pilot activities, and to support the application of its priorities in practice at all levels. As one of the most important communication channels and information hubs, the website #TerritorialAgenda was transformed in the new graphic image early in July of 2021. The stakeholders can already find there some key documents translated in national languages which will bring Territorial agenda closer to subnational levels across the EU. By publishing interesting contributions from Member States, partner states and other stakeholders, the website shall truly develop in a reference point for Territorial Agenda2030.
In order to further encourage the application of principles and guidelines in decision and policy making, the Presidency will organize a thematic conference “All Places Matter” on 29 September 2021 in Maribor. At the conference, selected projects will showcase application of TA 2030 priorities for improving the quality of life.
The central theme of the Slovenian Presidency is the quality of life, which is gradually gaining significance in the spatial and other public policies as a strategic goal. The Territorial Agenda 2030 highlights the importance of quality of life in several chapters and identifies fields that enable it. ESPON developed a territorial quality of life approach which will be discussed by the directors general on 26 October 2021, supported by a policy brief. Its embeddedness in policy and territorial development, and comprehension of quality of life by the people will also be addressed on several other occasions. Together with ESPON EGTC, we are organising an event on quality of life measurement within the European Week of Regions and Cities and a high level debate will be held at the ESPON seminar in early December.
Based on the Bucharest Declaration, which emphasizes the importance of the functional link between the Territorial agenda and the Leipzig Charter, Slovenia will also organize a joint meeting of the Network of the territorial cohesion contact points and the Urban development group to identify possible topics for further joint work.