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Green paper on Territorial Cohesion

A clarification of the concept of territorial cohesion should enable improved analysis of the existing disparities between European Union (EU) territories and for strategies better adapted to their diverse nature to be adopted.


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee of 6 October 2008 - Green paper on territorial cohesion: Turning territorial diversity into strength[COM(2008) 616 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Green Paper opens the debate on territorial cohesion policy with a view to improving competitiveness and sustainable development throughout the European Union (EU).

Effectively, the widening of strategies implemented at Community, national, regional and local levels should enable:

  • an increase in returns of agglomeration and a reduction in disadvantages for all types of territories, in order to support their harmonious development;
  • improved links between territories, to ensure access to services of general economic interest, principally in the fields of health, education, transport, energy, information and communication technologies;
  • the promotion of cooperation between territories, in order to manage environmental and structural problems on the most appropriate territorial scale, as well as to create synergies of growth and innovation. Cooperation should be strengthened between cross-border regions in the new Member States and with the EU’s external borders.

Furthermore, cohesion policy should enable certain regions to make the most of their potential, in particular mountain or island regions or sparsely populated regions.

In its efforts to deepen and clarify the concept of territorial cohesion, the Commission intends to consult interested parties on the scope of actions taken, the appropriate means of implementation to strengthen cross-border and transnational cooperation, the coordination of territorial and sectoral policies (essentially in the fields of transport, communication, employment, the environment, agriculture, competition and research), as well as on the opportunity to widen existing territorial partnerships to include new types of local players.


The Green Paper is based on discussions on cohesion policy which have taken place between Member States for almost two decades. These discussions have already led to the creation of Community cooperation programmes (INTERREG) and the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON). The Green Paper also supports the Territorial Agenda and its Action Plan adopted in 2007.

The public consultation will close in February 2009 and the Commission will present an analysis of the results in spring 2009.

Last updated: 20.02.2009

See also

For further information, please visit the website of the Directorate General for Regional Policy.

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