Workshop: European territories and their inter-linkages

OPEN DAYS 2012: European Week of Cities and Regions - Brussels, Belgium


European Commission DG REGIO E1 and the Regional Studies Association (RSA)


Cooperation arrangements were currently under pressure to deliver results and asked what the real expectations were and what we could learn from the ESPON response programme with regards to internal cooperation between European regions and the impacts of wider external cooperation.


Professor Grzegorz Gorzelak, EUROREG, University of Warsaw, Poland

European Territorial Cooperation
This paper presented the different types of European cooperations and their typology via the research conducted through the INTERREG programmes III and IV b and c, as well as trans-continental co-operation with Latin America and North Africa which argued that despite seeing leadership in the old members states (15), all the powers within Europe were now moving at a more evenly speed. Good practice and traditional experience were seen as essential to cooperation and the importance of twinning cities was put forward with an emphasis on cultural cooperation which was seen as the most promising form of cooperation together with the need of infrastructural investment and transcontinental contacts at city levels through migration.

Dr. James Scott, Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Cross Border Cooperation (paper not available)
Cross border cooperation was seen as filling gaps between activities and there was a need to focus on eastern regions. Cross border cooperation is potentially important regarding the development of resource. It was also mentioned that there was a divide between north/west in terms of ability of the local actors in engaging in cross border cooperation. It was also argued that external border regions had policy options such as conceptualising and implementing a cohesion policy giving more dominance to notions of cross border cooperation across EU external borders, having third sector actors in the form of civic/voluntary organisations, developing through capacity building or making space to frame regional development  strategies.

Professor Javier Alfonso-Gil, University Autonoma, Madrid, Spain

Territorial Cooperation with Non-EU Regions
This paper aimed at identifying key actors in transcontinental cooperation and impacts were shown to be moderate on the general development process in transcontinental partners but much higher on sectors such as tourism, education and international trade.  It was also noted that the results of transcontinental cooperation were positive for economic growth, quality of life and quality of natural environment. It was also argued that there was a need for a top down approach in the coordination of activities, a better evaluation of the programmes offered, a clear commitment from the EU towards multi-annual programmes.

Dr. Arno van der Zwet, School of Government & Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, UK

The governance of European Territorial Cooperation
This presentation drew on part of the ESPON TERCO (European Territorial Cooperation as a Factor of Growth, Jobs and Quality of Life) project and argued that in policy evaluations and academic literature, the impact of territorial cooperation was regarded both positively and negatively. Governance structures in territorial cooperation programmes were varied and were found to have a major influence on the types of operations supported. Governance structures should therefore be a key consideration when assessing the impact of territorial cooperation. The presentation argued that for programmes to maximise their impact, good and effective governance was needed throughout and involved more than simply adjusting indicators and setting tighter selection and monitoring criteria. In order to increase the lasting impacts of territorial cooperation, emphasis on impact should be drawn through all elements of programme governance. This would include programming, project animation, project generation and project implementation stages.

Mr. Colin Wolfe, European Commission, DG REGIO

This paper argued that cooperation was rather worthwile but it did not carry any credit. Cooperation has a less clearly defined EU function and is seen as having a sectoral dimension with a push of Horizon 2020. Absorption issues, shared management issues on cooperation between two countries and infrastructure were identified. It was also mentioned that big policy questions often came with big policy opportunities and that the EU had risen questions at a regional level and across borders.

All content copyright © Regional Studies Association 2017. Registered charity number 1084165.