Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Cohesion policy

Cohesion policy - 08.10.2008

Green Paper on territorial cohesion: "Still no definition of territorial cohesion!"
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) regrets that the European Commission's Green Paper on territorial cohesion adopted on 6 October 2008 does not include a definition of the concept of territorial cohesion.
A clear and unique definition of territorial cohesion in the Green Paper would have avoided letting Member States lead their own national cohesion policy as opposed to a true pan-European cohesion policy, says CEMR policy officer on cohesion Policy, Boris Tonhauser. If we want to foster cohesion in the European Union, we should first agree on what territorial cohesion means.
The term territorial cohesion was already mentioned in the European Commission's Third Cohesion Report (2004) and recognises that "territorial disparities which affect the overall competitiveness of the economy should be addressed: geographical disparities as well as territorial dynamics".
What role for local and regional authorities?
The Lisbon Treaty, adopted in 2007 but not yet ratified, explicitly adds territorial cohesion as a third dimension of regional policy (beside the social and economic dimensions). The Treaty recognises the role played by local and regional government in the EU and more specifically in achieving territorial cohesion. We are expecting the European Commission to reiterate this role and acknowledge the importance of local and regional government in the planning, delivery and monitoring of territorial development policies and instruments, underlines Boris Tonhauser.
The public consultation on the Green paper was launched on 6 October 2008. It will run until the end of February 2009 and the Commission will then present an analysis of the results in late spring 2009.
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