Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director General of DG Regio at the European Commission participated in the 36th General Assembly of the CPMR in Bayonne on 3 October 2008.
Her intervention focused on the “Introduction to the Principle of the Territorial Cohesion and its consequences on EU Future policies”. Mrs Mathernova participated in the General Assembly just a few days before the publication of the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion and will therefore be looking forward to receiving the CPMR’s contribution to the consultation on the Green Paper. This contribution will be presented at the CPMR’s Political Bureau meeting on 23 January 2009 in the Region of Midtjylland (DK).
EM: If I asked you to describe the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion in three words, what would you say?
KM: It is a policy document that sets the foundations for the concept of territorial cohesion. Hopefully, it will launch a very vivid public debate on what territorial cohesion brings in addition to economic and social cohesion. It does not yet offer a definition of territorial cohesion, as this will be the result of the public consultation. However, it highlights the importance of place-based policies, which stress the importance of the great European diversity of territories and the need to maximise the indigenous potential of each of these territories. Moreover, it stresses the importance of cooperation among Regions and with neighbourhoods. Finally, it insists on partnerships and on the need for increased coordination of sectoral policies within the EU, in order to better take into account the territorial aspect and territorial dimension of all these policies.
EM: How much do you think the future of territorial cohesion (and regional policy) is related to the new Treaty entering into force?
KM: The Treaty basis for cohesion policy is there and has been there! The cohesion policy is already a territorial-based policy, and over the last ten years we have had a process - with results – where we have discussed about the implementation of territorial dimension and the strengthening of territorial dialogue. Therefore, it would be important to have a Treaty with the principle of territorial cohesion in it. However, at the moment, even without the Treaty, we can support the territorial dimension of economic and social cohesion.
EM: What do you expect from our Regions and from the CPMR, as a contribution to the consultation process?
KM: We would very much like both a collective contribution from the CPMR and your Member Regions to be part of the discussions in the various fora where, through engagement with you and other organisations, we would be able to answer some of the questions. How to take the territorial cohesion concept and agenda further? How to feed back the messages to the national politicians within your own countries, who then make the decision on the mix of the community policies? It is a two-way street, a two directional effort, both to feed into the public debate and then to communicate back to the national politicians.
Enrico Mayrhofer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Clare Booth (email@example.com)