European Council for the Village and Small Town

ECOVAST UK Discussion

In the News

European Commission DG AGRI.

ECOVAST President , Valerie Carter, reports on the Rural Development Advisory meeting 26 February 2014

DG Agri Rural Development Advisory Group

Held in Rue de la loi Room 11A, Brussels, BELGIUM

February 26th 2014 09.30 to 17.30

There were three major blocks of presentations – each followed by a question and answer session.  

This was a session primarily about DG Agri informing the stakeholders of progress on the new Rural Development Programmes.  It invited questions about what was being said – it was not a session where the floor was open for general debate with views invited from individual stakeholders.

  1. Rural Development Policy 2014-2020 Presentation on State of Play and What is Still to Happen

The basic Acts have already been adopted in 2013

Although we had no programmes yet several Partnership Agreements were already submitted

There had also been several notifications of changes between Pillar I and Pillar II by Member States (from France; Latvia; and the UK) and from Pillar II to Pillar I (from Croatia; Malta; Poland and Slovakia)

  1. The Delegated Act

The Delegated Act is in preparation and likely to be approved in March 2014 and be published in the summer (July)

They have had input form 9 meetings of experts and the consultation period ended in January 2014.

The European Parliament has up to 4 months to approve this Act – only a YES or NO vote, cannot approve or disapprove bits of it.

It will have 20 Articles and 9 Annexes

There will be specific measures on the following:

  1. Young Farmers who are head of farm holding – they must be doing something new
  2. Assisting farmers and foresters to visit each other and learn something from each other
  3. Promotion of ‘quality schemes’.  This must prevent discrimination; will not be based on origin of the product – but rather linked to specific production method or recipe.  It is not to promote brands.
  4. Farm Business Development – will provide for the preparation of business plans with criteria for setting thresholds for access to support
  5. Afforestation with minimum environmental requirements
  6. Agri-environment/climate change – with conditions related to extensification; key species loss etc
  7. Conservation genetic measures – specification of operations for the collection of genetic information which will help future generations
  8. No double funding – under Article 29 (rules for ‘equivalence’.  Will also look at payments already made under Pillar 1
  9. Animal Welfare – this is not meant to be an operating aid. But it will set specifications.  Not about vaccinations.  A lot of this activity will already be done anyway as part of farming in an economic way.
  10. Co-operation – will define ‘local markets’ and ‘short supply chains’; ‘small operations’ etc   

Technical Provisions relating to Measures

  1. Commercial loans – minimum/maximum duration etc
  2. Investment – leasing contracts, second had equipment etc
  3. Special measures for Croatia

  1. The Implementing Act - Rules and Provisions
  • Content of Rural Development Programme (Annex I)
  • Procedures for adopting programme
  • Procedure for changing programme
  • Knowledge Transfer / Information exchange – giving specifics of a voucher scheme
  • Selection of Authorities as bodies offering advisory services
  • Business Plans and assessing progress against Business Plans
  • Conversion of units – includes metres of hedges; conversion of livestock; rare breeds; genetics etc
  • Standard assumption of ‘additional costs’ and ‘income foregone’ – set at programme level
  • Combination of measures – rules for combined agriculture commitment and climate change
  • National Rural Networks – organisation and minimum content of RNR programmes
  • Information and Publishing (Annex II) with obligatory information needed and information strategies
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: including Common Indicators (Annex IV) and elements of the system (Annexes V and VI)

  1. The Transition Rules
  • Set out in Basic regulations 1310 2013
  • For the period 2014 to 2015
  • Will also use regulation 1305 , Articles 28-29 on double funding

  1. The Greening Element
  • Cross Compliance and Greening are mandatory activities

(v) The Organic Farming Sector

- Rules under Pillar I or under Natura 2000 or Water Framework Directive

- Again will need to check double funding

- Note that it will only fund things which go beyond the normal practices of good      farming

The State of Play now

The new Rural Development Programme has 114 programmes (more than the 88 in the 2007-13 period).  All member states have started on a SWOT analysis and ex-ante evaluations.  Only 3 national frameworks received so far.  Most drafts are expected during the spring of 2014.

The following Question and Answer session drew out the following comments:

General points:

  • Remember that the Commission is never imposing any measures on any Member State.  The programmes are chosen by the needs in the member states or in the region of the member states (where they have regional programmes) and the details of how these programmes will be used will need to be set out by each Member State.  The Commission will want to see how the measures adopted by the Member State will meet the objectives supported by the Commission.
  • Member States also have to meet their own National Regulations too – but the Commission will not provide payment for them
  • The guidance provided is not legally binding it is simply ’guidance’ – there will be lots of guidance issued and regular updates to each Member State.  It will also made available to all stakeholders too in the spring.
  • In general payments will only be made on what is done beyond what should normally be done for normal economic farming practices

More specific points:

  • Partnership agreements for individual countries should adhere to the 22nd April deadline
  • The Delegated Act is approved and adopted by the European Commission
  • The Member States must submit their Rural Development Programme 3 months after this.  The Partnership Agreement can be done before the publication of the Delegated Act or the Implementing Acts
  • Questions were raised about ‘disadvantaged regions’; and conflicts affecting birds in Article 62
  • The Commission will only accept an error of 2% and no more and it must be clear why the errors have occurred
  • Farming Advisory Service is mandatory under Pillar I
  • Animal welfare measures will set out how it can be used in all Member States
  • Public procurement rules cannot be overridden
  • There is difficulty in understanding ‘double-funding’ – very specific information is needed – needs a formal Explanatory Note
  • Questions were also asked about how ‘integrated development programmes’ would work.  A common Strategic Framework is needed for a multi-funding approach.  Countries have a lot of discretion and not under pressure from the Commission.
  • There are not supposed to be major amendments to programmes during the programme period unless there is something like a national disaster.

This DG Agri Advisory Committee on Rural development is seen as the Consulting Group for the Commission – which of course has implications for the changes to be made on who will be attending in future during this new programme period and how stakeholders be involved in policy development by DG Agri.   The Commission is there to provide information to the stakeholders of the Committee (and the networks they represent) as well as be given information on activities/concerns etc from the stakeholders.  Any pertinent questions should be put to the Commission to be answered at the next meeting in May 2014.    

  1. ENRD Activities; state of play and future development: Three presentations by Fabio Cossu; Michael Gregory and Antonella Zona

We are now in the Transition Period

The first presentation explained how much had been spent up until 2012 over each Axis and how much was left to spend.  It will, of course be updated when information for 2013 is analysed and it will be on the ENRD website:

  • For example Axis I had 66% declared: 
  • Axis II had 82% declared; 
  • Axis 3 had 57% declared and 
  • Axis 4 Leader had 43% declared.

The rates for each Member State would be available soon.

There had been several changes over the programme period (2007-2013).  There had been 88 programmes in all. The Budgets had been changed (with Axis I falling and Axis II, Axis III and Axis IV all rising) and programmes updated 8 times with 2,108 changes at measure level.

It also set out the main Outputs achieved:

  • Axis I: 319,000 farm holdings modernised (investment of E33 billion); 37,000 farm operations and 25,000 forestry operations supported (investment of E6 billion); 19,000 businesses and 15,000 micro businesses supported (investment of E15 billion
  • Axis II: 1,000,000 holdings in mountainous areas supported covering 15,000,000 hectares; agriculture environment payments for 1,300,000 farm holdings under 22,800,000 contracts
  • Axis III: 34,000 villages supported (investment of E6 billion); 41,000 actions to support basic services (investment of E4 billion
  • Axis IV Leader: there were 2,402 LAGs which financed 54,000 projects; with 384 Trans National projects

The second presentation reported on activities during year 6 and looking beyond to year 7 and 8 (Transition Period).  There were 2 key priorities for Year 6: firstly capitalisation and future proofing of ENRD current knowledge bank; and secondly supporting preparatory actions for the new programme using lessons learned from the last 6 years,

  • There were lots of different ‘tool-kits’ and ‘self-assessment tool-kits’
  • A Leader Gateway had been developed with a Leader tool-kit; LAG database; Leader Library listing Leader events and Leader Trans National Co-operation 
  • There is now a CLLD development initiative
  • There is a database already of 600 project examples and there will be more – it is recognised that more in-depth life cycle stories are needed
  • There is a Rural Development Gateway on the ENRD website – with an EU Rural Development Experience section
  • Year 7 and 8 will involve lots of NRN meetings and workshops and seminars: already planned are:
    • Communications workshop in Vilnius, Lithuania on 3-4 March 2014
    • Training on Innovation in Ghent, Belgium 18-19 March 2014
    • Training on Self-Assessment in Kendal, United Kingdom 7-9 May 2014
    • The Final event (no date yet) will be in Brussels

The third presentation concentrated on activities for preparing the ENRD for 2014-2020

  • The Regulatory Framework is set out in the Rural Development Basic Act Articles 51 and 52
  • The Implementing Act will be adopted by the Commission in spring 2014 and includes the Implementing Rules for the organisation structure and operations of the ENRD for the new programme

ENRD objectives will be about improving the quality of the Rural Development Programmes and will involve stakeholders.  A summary of main ENRD tasks are:

  • Collect, analyse and disseminate information
  • Support for the evaluation process
  • Collecting and disseminating good practice
  • Thematic works – involving exchange of experts
  • Information on development in the EU and in prospective countries
  • Holding meetings and seminars

There will be lots more consultation with Member States and Stakeholders and the process will be open and transparent

The EU Networks Structure.  There will be EU-wide networks.  Ideas for them have not been finalised and are still developing.  The 2 main ones will be:

  1. Firstly there will be an Assembly which will replace the current ENRD Co-ordinating Committee.  This will include EU Organisations; National Managing Authorities; representatives of National Networks; Paying Agencies; Local Action Groups; Advisory Services and Agricultural Research Institutes.  It will have 200+ bodies.  It is intended that this Assembly be open and inclusive.  Those that attend will get financial costs paid.  It will be the place where decisions are made.
  2. Secondly there will be a Steering Group to support the above Assembly.  This will have only 50 or so members (but probably on a rotational basis
  3. There will be some sort of Evaluation Network and a meeting in April 2014 will decide how this will work

These networks will be supported by the following: All will have formal agreements stating how they will work 

  • Thematic sub-groups for Leader; CLLD; Innovation etc.  Some may be temporary.  They will be clarified during the summer of 2014 and come into being in 2015.
  • There will be a new ENRD Contact Point which should be in place by July 2014.  Contracts for this are already out.
  • There will be an Evaluation Help Desk
  • There will be an EIP Service Point

  1. The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on agriculture productivity and sustainability, & ongoing work of the EIP Service Point: 

Presentation given by Iman Boot

The European Innovation Partnership is about a partnership to encourage innovation and make use of relevant research.  Member States do not have to take up EIP’s – it is an individual choice by a Member State. No indication yet which countries will use EIP

The basic building blocks of EIP are:

  • Article 35 of the Rural Development Programme (EIP is not a funding instrument itself). The Measures under Article 35 are coming out soon
  • Horizon 2020 research policy network and projects. There is a call for proposals in 2014 which closes in June.  But the 2015 call is still tentative as is the programming cycle for 2016-2017
  • The high level Steering Board – an advisory body that prepares the strategies and necessary documents

Basically to use EIP measures you must meet two criteria: you must have an idea to be tested and must share the results.  There must be very clear targets set for what you want to do – they will not be discussion groups. 

The EIP has a website which provides guidance (but needs an update now).  

There is also an EIP Service Point who will animate the networks and the Focus Groups

What is the State of Play and What is Planned

DG Agri had been re-organised with a new Unit H5 Research and Innovation – who would be responsible for EIP work and will need to let stakeholders know how they will share any information gleaned.

  • 5 operational workshops have been set up already: Portugal end of March; Slovenia in April; Estonia also in April and Czech Republic in May and also France in May.  The Member States are divided into 1 of the 5 workshops. 
  • Focus Groups will be launched in March and the end of the year covering various topics – they will cover High Nature Value Farming Profitability; Precision Farming; Profitability of Permanent Grassland; Fertilizer Efficiency.
  • An EIP Newsletter will be published
  • EIP will be discussed at the NRD event in Ghent referred to above

DG Agri Unit covering EIP would like views from this Committee on the long term needs for research.

Comments emerging from the Question and Answer Session

  • The impact of new technologies on employees needs to be assessed.
  • There are already lots of networks in operation
  • There is also a lot of interest being expressed in regions too

At the end of the meeting the Chairman thanked Josephine who is moving on after 7 years with this Committee.  He also hoped that this group would continue to advise the Commission and work with the new structures.

Please Note:

The next meeting of this Rural Development Advisory Committee will be held on 14 May 2014.  It is expected that the changes in the group membership will be discussed at this meeting

Valerie Carter

ECOVAST President 

 

Death of UK member Jane Wade

We hear with great sadness that Jane Wade died suddenly and unexpectedly on 26 January 2014 from a brain haemorrhage.

 

This tribute to Jane has been written by Michael Dower who is expressing our thoughts and condolence to  John and Jane’s family:

 

“Jane and her husband John Sell have been loyal and active members of ECOVAST since its very early years.  They ran a distinguished practice in architecture and landscape architecture, based in a lovely house in the historic Cinque Port town at Faversham, Kent – a county known as the ‘Garden of England’.  Much of their work was focused on the restoration, conservation and enhancement of historic buildings or historic gardens, and they also made many fine additions to the heritage by way of new buildings and landscapes.

 

They had a truly European view, and a fascination with the wide variety and high quality life of the cultural and architectural heritage of this continent, particularly in its rural areas.  They have contributed much to the work of Europa Nostra, of which John is Executive Vice-President; and of ECOVAST, notably of its Rural Architecture Group.  They enjoyed collaborating with architects from other countries, notably in the former countries of Yugoslavia, such as Croatia and Bosnia.  In recent years, they found great pleasure in buying and transforming a small historic house in Dubrovnik.

 

Jane was a beautiful, graceful, thoughtful, creative woman, humane and of high moral fibre, committed to the protection and enrichment of the architectural and cultural heritage, always with the well-being of people also in mind.

 

We offer our warm condolence to John and to Jane’s family, and hope they will be comforted by the warm affection of so many people who admired Jane and who benefitted from her determination to leave the world in a more beautiful place.”


Michael Dower


Olga Sevan, ECOVAST Russia says:

“It is terrible news about Jane… I send my condolences to John and to Jane’s family, and the family of ECOVAST. We loved her, and continue to love. I didn’t meet her and John in recent years, but it was so interesting to work with them.  I remember their unique relation and friendship, and love, which they spread around, drawing us into their lovely environment. Photos which I have after our meetings and travels in different countries show John and Jane together always. It was so warm to be with you, our lovely friends. Thank you, Jane that you were with us…”

Olga Sevan


 Small Towns Initiative Findings

http://www.befs.org.uk/small-towns-2

On Wednesday the 4th September 2013 the Built Environment Forum Scotland launched a report on the findings of the Small Towns Initiative at an event in Helensburgh.

download from here.

The main findings are:

  •  
    •  
      • The historic environment is a vital part of small towns’ character, but is under threat.
      • Conservation projects focused on the historic environment are playing an important part in small town regeneration.
      • The town centres are struggling – innovative uses are needed.
      • Property ownership and rateable values are part of the problem in town centres.
      • Small towns are important to Scotland’s economy – there is local innovation and global connections.
      • Public services are key providers of professional job opportunities, especially for women, and are important for community sustainability.
      • Education opportunities are crucial to attracting families and retaining young people.
      • Community / cultural activities and a safe, attractive environment can be an important part of a development strategy.
      • Scotland’s small towns need better branding and visibility on the internet.
      • Joined up action by the public sector needs to be supported by local residents and businesses.

Key recommendations are:

 

  •  
    •  
      • More research is needed on the economic significance of Scotland’s small towns to underpin a small towns policy sitting alongside urban policy and rural policy.
      • The Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme and the Town Centre Regeneration programme have helped to provide investment to conserve and enhance the centres of small towns. Such investment will continue to be needed, but the CARS programme should include powers for compulsory purchase.
      • Means should be explored to enable temporary use by not-for-profit organisations of commercial premises that have been vacant for 6 months. 
      • Small towns need an integrated, place-based approach. Community planning partnerships can be a vehicle for this if they are focused on place rather than services.
      • Schools have a key part to play in sustaining small towns. They are important in attracting and retaining families, sources of employment and spending and part of a town’s identity. Their full potential for developing entrepreneurship, building links with local businesses and involving young people in the future of their town should be explored and exploited.
      • Use innovative local firms to spread innovation locally and through sub-regional networks and clusters.
      • Work together, learn from each other.
      • Use and adapt the BEFS small town health check to promote interest and build partnerships in your town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECOVAST NEWS December 2012

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ESTONIA

 

Minister proposes to do away with small towns

 

http://news.err.ee/society/ac7f5282-05b4-4018-8e46-4bd9e32b2b8a

 

 

 

EU Danube Strategyhttp://www.danubestrategy.eu

See the latest comment at

 http://ecovast.webs.com/apps/blog/show/3555695-eu-danube-strategy#comments

 http://www.foster-europe.org

 

.......

FINAL comments by ECOVAST on CAP REFORM

The FINAL version of the ECOVAST comments on CAP Reform can be seen inthe files on ECOVAST Discussion site:http://ecovastdiscussion.grouply.com/files/folder/15073/LiBeYW0Yi6mmzH-HNYHME5d7NuxS18LwybQNRBm0F0Gaffx-qrvE6f9s03lvx7z3JEk%3D

 

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 ASSET : ACTION TO STRENGTHEN SMALL EUROPEAN TOWNS

For information on ECOVASTs Project ASSET, go to <www.ecovast.org>

One of ASSET's partners, Yorkshire Forward UK, has sponsored a report on rural areas. it features Market Towns. Download the GREATBRIEF from:

http://www.integreatyorkshire.com/aug-2009-the-potential-of-rural-e...

Futher information on Yorkshire Renaissance Market Towns may be found at:

www.rmtportal.com
 
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European Union Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion 

 

ECOVAST comments on the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion

Turning territorial diversity into strength

The original paper From the European Commission may be seen in several languages at

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/consultation/terco/index_en.htm 

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ECOVAST is the European Council for the Village and Small Town.

We are pleased, therefore, that small towns and villages, and their

historicity, are mentioned in the first paragraph of the Green Paper:

 

1. A TERRITORIAL PERSPECTIVE ON ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL

COHESION

From the frozen tundra in the Arctic Circle to the tropical rainforests of

Guyane, from the Alps to the Greek islands, from the global cities of London

and Paris to small towns and villages dating back centuries, the EU harbours

an incredibly rich territorial diversity.

 

ECOVAST is pleased to support the policy thrust of this Green Paper.

We note the definitions of small and medium sized towns at paragraph

3.1.4. of the Annex to the Green Paper, and definitions of URBAN,

INTERMEDIATE and RURAL areas in paragraph 3.2 of that Annex.

Whilst the range Small and medium-sized towns with a population of between 5 000

and 50 000, has been used for the purposes of the EPSON work, we

consider that it should not be used as a yardstick for policies and

initiatives affecting small towns.

 

We recommend that no lower limit should be set.

(ECOVAST Germany knows of some settlements with formal town

status/charter rights from medieval and later times, but with only 500

inhabitants. ECOVAST recalls settlements in remote areas of Scandinavia

that regard themselves as towns, but with a population of 200 or so. Although

Hum, in Croatia, claims on the web that it is the smallest in Europe, having

diminished from historic times to a population of merely 20, the smallest town

recognised by ECOVAST Croatia is Komiža (Split-Dalmatia County) with

1.677 inhabitants including several other settlements).

 

Nor is an upper limit desirable.

(Although ECOVAST Austria considers that 50,000 population is acceptable,

up to 30,000 is an official definition for a small town in the UK, England).

We also note the following wording, in paragraph 2.1, and support the

need for a positive relationship between, on the one hand, small cities

and towns operating together as networks and, on the other hand, the

rural areas. Towns and rural areas are inter-dependent.

Intermediate regions, which have more small cities and towns, can also benefit from

increasing returns if they create a strong network of cities and towns and develop

their strengths in a coordinated manner. Towns and cities in intermediate and rural

regions also provide essential services for the surrounding rural areas.

Indeed, in rural areas which are more remote from cities of any size, small and

medium-sized towns often play a more important role than their size might suggest.

The role these towns play in providing access to services including the infrastructure

necessary to invest in the adaptability of people and enterprises, is key to avoiding

rural depopulation and ensuring these areas remain attractive places to live.

Although most economic activity is concentrated in towns and cities, rural areas

remain an essential part of the EU. They are the location of most of the natural

resources and natural areas (lakes, forests Natura 2000 sites, etc.) (map 6), have good air

quality (map 7) and are often attractive and safe places to live or visit.

The key challenge is to ensure a balanced and sustainable territorial development of

the EU as whole, strengthening its economic competitiveness and capacity for

growth while respecting the need to preserve its natural assets and ensuring social

cohesion. This implies avoiding excessive concentrations of growth and facilitating

the access to the increasing returns of agglomeration in all territories.

 

We strongly believe that cooperation is the key to the competitiveness

of smaller settlements and rural areas, and ECOVAST, through it ASSET

Project (Action to Strengthen Small European Towns) has already

alerted the Council of Europe INGOs meetings of town and rural

groupings of the necessity for a change in policy that addresses the

potential of small towns and the rural areas with which they interact.

 

We, therefore, welcome the wording of paragraph 2.3

To tackle … problems effectively requires a policy response on a

variable geographical scale, involving in some cases cooperation between

neighbouring local authorities, in others between countries, and in yet others between

the EU and neighbouring countries.

In a number of Member States, metropolitan bodies have been created to bring

together several authorities at different levels to tackle issues, such as economic

development, public transport, access to healthcare and higher education and training

facilities, air quality and waste, which span regional borders.

 

However, we would be concerned if that policy focus was, solely,

centered (literally) upon metropolitan areas, larger cities and

conurbations.

The dominance of large cities in political, demographic and economic

terms as well as recipients of funding, has been seen as detrimental to

the potential of small towns and rural areas. We are aware of policy

stances (for example in regions of Germany and UK) that are

recognising ‘small towns as the metropoles of rural areas’ or ‘…of the

cultural landscape’ (Brandenburg) – hubs of social, economic and

environmental activity – rural ‘centre capitals’(UK).

We note that the Annex paragraph 2, gives tables of funding support

that show that rural regions that are close to a city have received less

attention in the period 2000 – 2006, and we would seek this to be

addressed in future.

 

4. QUESTIONS FOR DEBATE

The questions listed below cover the main issues described in this Green

Paper and define the scope of the debate it is intended to initiate. The

Commission will provide a synthesis of this debate in late Spring 2009.

 

1. Definition

Territorial cohesion brings new issues to the fore and puts a new emphasis on

existing ones.

What is the most appropriate definition of territorial cohesion?

ECOVAST is registered as an INGO of the Council of Europe, and we are

aware of the work of another INGO, the ECTP (European Council of

Spatial Planners) in exploring a definition, and support their approach

(Camangni 2008):

Analyzing Territorial Cohesion

Although some tend to define Territorial Cohesion as territorial aspects of

social and economic cohesion, the environment as determined by physical

infrastructure, functional systems, cultural and historic characteristics,

landscape and nature provides distinct spatial qualities that influence quality

of life, use of resources, accessibility and opportunities for economic growth,

economic specialization and innovation in a region.

Camagni identified three components of Territorial Cohesion:

TERRITORIAL QUALITY for economic innovation, natural values and quality

of life

TERRITORIAL EFFICIENCY for economic growth, minimal use of (land)

resources and accessibility

TERRITORIAL IDENTITY for economic specialization, landscape, culture,

historic assets.

Jan Vogelij, Convenor, ECTP SPtTC working group

April 2008

Territorial cohesion means having a sense of solidarity between different

territories and putting this into practice so that no region feels seriously

disadvantaged or neglected.

Geographically disadvantaged regions do have specific needs but also

special qualities that need to be conserved. The emphasis should be on

helping them to realise their territorial potential rather than on open-ended

subsidies.

Cliff Hague

https://nkutvikling.custompublish.com/have-your-say-on-territorial-cohesion.4521751-

113437.html

– What additional elements would it bring to the current approach to economic

and social cohesion as practiced by the European Union?

As implied above, it would address those aspects that are important to

stakeholders, including ECOVAST members, including quality of life,

wise use of resources, landscape, culture and historic assets

 

2. The scale and scope of territorial action

Territorial cohesion highlights the need for an integrated approach to

addressing problems on an appropriate geographical scale which may require

local, regional and even national authorities to cooperate.

Is there a role for the EU in promoting territorial cohesion? How could

such a role be defined against the background of the principle of

subsidiarity?

The EU has an important and pivotal role in INFLUENCING the policies

of national, regional and municipal authorities, in ENCOURAGING

collaboration, cooperation and the engagement of stakeholders, in

addition to the sector policies and related financial support listed in

paragraph 3.1.

How far should the territorial scale of policy intervention vary according

to the nature of the problems addressed?

There must be scope for addressing the whole territory of the EU,

and the varying physical characteristics, remoteness and population

density.

– Do areas with specific geographical features require special policy

measures? If so, which measures?

Certainly, no single policy can suit all. All listed in 3.1 are relevant.

 

3. Better cooperation

Increased cooperation across regional and national borders raises questions

of governance.

– What role should the Commission play in encouraging and

supporting territorial cooperation?

The Commission is already identifying that there is a difference between

Government Structures (the administrative processes to deliver public

policy) and Governance (government speaking and listening to citizens

within a dialogue, like Local Agenda 21.) If the latter is lacking there will

be no change in public attitudes.

(DG REGIO seminar on Urban / Rural)

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/conferences/urban_rural/index_en.htm

– Is there a need for new forms of territorial cooperation?

ECOVAST and ASSET strongly encourage stakeholder engagement with

municipalities and regional bodies through active associations of small

towns. Direct support for these activities through each member state

would improve public attitudes to new policy thrusts.

– Is there a need to develop new legislative and management tools to

facilitate cooperation, including along the external borders?

The ASSET project, through connections with INTERREG III and

emerging INTERREG IV activities, is aware of toolkits that can assist

small towns and rural areas in spatial planning.

 

4. Better coordination

Improving territorial cohesion implies better coordination between sectoral and

territorial policies and improved coherence between territorial interventions.

How can coordination between territorial and sectoral policies be

improved?

We note, for example the cooperation between DG REGIO and DG AGRI

that was evident at the seminar on Urban/Rural in January 2009.

DG AGRI, in the Rural Development Programme, has initiated networks

in each member state, and there are also sub-national networks or

forums to consider Rural Development. These, especially the LEADER

networks, are capable of engaging stakeholders (even at a sub-regional

level) in the process of policy change and implementation. This can

enable sectoral policies to be ‘joined-up’ across a territory, and can be

effective for territories with very different physical and demographic

characteristics.

This might also provide a model for the predominantly urban areas.

Which sectoral policies should give more consideration to their

territorial impact when being designed? What tools could be developed

in this regard?

Agricultural and rural development policies.

– How can the coherence of territorial policies be strengthened?

By seeking intensive engagement of the public.

– How can Community and national policies be better combined to

contribute to territorial cohesion?

By the EU and member states actively encouraging subsidiarity –

setting up sub-national / regional networks for engagement of

stakeholders, and then by devising policy to accord with the consensusof the views of the stakeholders in those many territories

 

5. New territorial partnerships

The pursuit of territorial cohesion may also imply wider participation in the

design and implementation of policies.

- Does the pursuit of territorial cohesion require the participation of

new actors in policymaking, such as representatives of the social

economy, local stakeholders, voluntary organisations and NGOs?

Very strongly, YES. The comments above imply that.

Civil society must become involved in policies and programmes.

NGOs, such as ECOVAST, can facilitate such capacity building in

several member states, working together with other NGOs.

– How can the desired level of participation be achieved?

Some suggestions are given above of the sub-national and sub-regional

forum / network structure that could be adopted.

 

6. Improving understanding of territorial cohesion

– What quantitative/qualitative indicators should be developed at EU level to

monitor characteristics and trends in territorial cohesion?

Monitoring is always mentioned at the end of such questions. However,

it is a prominent component of the continuing and cyclical policy

process of assessment (evidence base), engagement of stakeholders,

visioning, scenario building, options, policy framing, consultation,

political decision, implementation – and (round again) to assessment.

ESPON has been invaluable in assessing the evidence base and that

work, together with evidence from INTERREG and other projects, and

input from stakeholders (Europe-wide to local levels), can influence the

scope of the full range of indicators.

Qualitative indicators are desirable in considering the impacts of spatial

policies in environmental, social, cultural and economic aspects of

sustainability.

This is particularly important when considering quantitative and

qualitative changes to the character of the landscape. The European

Landscape Convention applies across whole territories – urban and

rural, metropolitan and remote, highland and island.

 

Philip A Turner

p.turner@ruralnet.org.uk

Vice President ECOVAST International Committee

www.ecovast.org

28.02.09