Co-operation on spatial planning in the European Union

In 2004, the European Union member states started a spatial planning co-operation project with the aim of strengthening the territorial cohesion in the European Union.

The EU cohesion policy comprises three dimensions: economic, social and territorial cohesion. Of the three, territorial cohesion is the one included in the EU Constitutional Treaty. The territorial dimension is the new starting point for the co-operation on spatial planning between member states.

EU Territorial Agenda 2020

In 2011, during the Hungarian Presidency, the ministers responsible for spatial planning, together with the European Commission, assessed the EU Territorial Agenda which had been approved in Leipzig in 2007. At the same time, the new Territorial Agenda for 2020 was agreed upon.

The new Territorial Agenda considers the recent territorial development, which is described in the Territorial State and Perspectives report, in the Fifth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion and in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

The aim of the Territorial Agenda 2020 is to create a more participatory, intelligent and sustainable Europe that respects territorial diversity. The Agenda includes goals and policy proposals, aimed at promoting territorial cohesion and the Europe 2020 strategy. For the most part, the aims are compatible with the national land use goals of Finland: these include polycentric and balanced regional development, integrated urban-rural development and the fostering of regional landscape and cultural values.

The member states can adopt the aims and policy actions proposed in the Agenda during the new Structural Fund period, starting in 2014.

Working Group on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters, TCUM

The official co-operation organ on territorial cohesion and urban development matters in the EU is the Working Group on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters, led by the Commission and including representatives from all member states. The working group’s actions are programmed in the annual plans.

The working group handles the topical EU spatial planning co-operation issues, such as the Progress Reports on currently effective spatial planning and urban development actions issued by the EU Presidency and the plans of future Presidencies. Reports on co-operation networks and projects are also handled and discussed in the meetings. In addition, the working group monitors the implementation of the EU Territorial Agenda.

More information

Senior Specialist Juhana Rautiainen, The Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Built Environment, tel. +358 295 250 143,

Published 2013-10-25 at 10:17, updated 2016-06-20 at 15:46