We need to act ...
Europe consists of different types of places, such as capital regions, metropolitan areas, small and medium-sized towns, rural areas, inner-peripheries, peripheral areas, northernmost areas, sparsely populated areas, islands, coastal areas, mountainous areas or areas in economic transition. These places show a great variety of development potential and challenges. From the sub-local to the pan-European level, disparities between places and between people as well as environmental risks and pressures increase, not at least due to market-driven economic dynamics, following economies of scales, access to market areas, access to qualified labour, the quality of governance and disparities in public service provision. Furthermore, the links and flows between different places affect a place’s capacity to dwell on its potential or respond to challenges.
Key challenges and potential for local and regional development in Europe, are linked to increasing imbalances, as well as the need for a transition to sustainable development and to react to the challenges of climate change. A common feature is the importance of good government and governance.
People & places drift apart
There is need to act as imbalances and inequalities between places increase e.g. in the fields:
- Quality of life
- Services of general interest
- Digitalisation and the 4th industrial revolution
- European places are globally embedded
- Demographic and societal inequalities
- Employment and economy
- Places in Europe do not exist independently of each other
There is need to act as to respond to address the increasing pressure concerning sustainable development and climate change e.g. in the fields:
- Climate change
- Loss of biodiversity and land consumption
- Healthy quality of air, soil and water
- Secure, affordable and sustainable energy
- Just transition
- Circular regional value chains
- Natural, landscape and cultural heritage
In Europe, increasing inequalities between people and between places as well as unsustainable developments have reached a critical level. They risk undermining the basis on which the EU, its Member States and thriving cities and regions build their success. Therefore, it is about time for concerted action at all geographical and administrative levels to ensure positive future perspectives for all people, communities and places in Europe.