Drawing Out the Elements of Territorial Cohesion: Re-Scaling EU Spatial Governance
27 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2010
Date Written: May 21, 2010
Post-Lisbon Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union requires the Union to ‘promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States’. This adds ‘territorial cohesion’ to its economic and social forms, legally entrenching a concept that remains contested. For lawyers, the significance of territorial cohesion lies in its ability, both as a concept and through its funding, to reframe the spatial, political and legal understanding of the EU, particularly in allowing regional and institutional actors within the Union to use cohesion resources to introduce new and innovative scales of governance. These are evident in the newly developed macro-regional strategies, characterised as ‘prime test cases of what territorial cohesion means in practical terms’ and in European Groupings on Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs). It is possible that by facilitating the creation of new scales of spatial governance, territorial cohesion and its associated funding is creating a ‘fourth tier’ of governance within the EU. We follow Hajer, Richardsen and Jensen in analysing spatial governance in terms of both flows and places, elaborating on the meaning of territorial cohesion. We suggest we suggest that the expenditure associated with cohesion policy demonstrates that that the EU is more than a ‘just’ regulatory state and that the extent of the money being spent on new and innovative spatial scales, has the potential to create a fourth level of the EU, introducing greater scope for governance to embed positive integration within the EU over and above the primarily legislative regulatory project. This suggests that there is, as Castells proposed, a desire to limit the spatial logic of the space of flows from ‘becoming the dominant spatial manifestation of power and function in our societies’. By creating a Europe of Places, territorial cohesion has the capacity to challenge the emphasis on economic development as the paradigm understanding of the EU and in the process refashioning our understanding of law, governance and territory within the EU.
Keywords: law, EU, territorial cohesion, spatial planning, spatial governance, spatial justice, convergence, structural funds, Castells, space of flows, Europe of flows, macro regional strategies, Baltic, space, place
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