In the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, was chairing the Informal Ministerial Meetings on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Policy that took take place on 26 and 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg.
Europe’s territory has unevenly developed in the last decades and the financial and economic crises have reinforced this trend. Therefore, the territorial cohesion of Europe’s territory is becoming a particular point of attention. Against this background, Ministers responsible for Territorial Cohesion came together on 26 November to discuss concrete actions to support territorial cohesion and their impact on overall growth and development. The promotion of a balanced territorial development across Europe promises a sustainable and inclusive pathway to growth that could buffer trends like brain drain or rural depopulation.
Territorial scenarios and visions can illustrate territorial development in Europe by showcasing the impact of long-term development trends such as migration and demographic change, policy initiatives such as the Juncker Plan, or sector policies such as the Energy Union on territories and regions. In this context, Ministers were able to discuss the opportunities and risks deriving from future perspectives of the European territory.
Another important point for discussion was the instrument proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency to strengthen cross-border cooperation and improve the quality of living and working in border regions. There are still a number of legal and regulatory obstacles along borders, such as different technical standards for tramlines or the access of people on one side of the border to healthcare services on the other side of the border. The instrument is meant to solve these challenges by applying certain laws or regulations of one country on the other side of the border, on a voluntary basis and subject to approval from regional or national authorities.
On 27 November, the Ministers responsible for Urban Policy addressed how to support small and medium-sized cities as places of attraction and providers of essential services – from a general and a cross-border perspective. As a large share of the European population lives in small and medium-sized cities and as these types of cities are also important drivers for dynamic development, it is crucial to look beyond metropolitan areas and discuss their development potential with a particular focus on cross-border regions.
Lastly, the Ministers focused on the urban dimension of the refugee crisis as cities play an essential role in the short, medium, and long term with regards to the reception and accommodation of asylum-seekers and the integration of recognised refugees. The main question at stake is what kind of support cities need to deal with the urban challenges of the refugee situation, linked to housing, training, poverty and integration.
Trio Presidency Programme and Contribution of LU Presidency
- Action 1 – Assessing the implementation of the Territorial Cohesion objective and the Territorial Agenda 2020
- Action 2 - Territorial Scenarios and Visions of Europe for 2050
- Action 3 - A tool for the attribution and application of specific provisions for the improvement of cross-border cooperation
- Action 4 - A systematic and structured political debate on Cohesion (in the framework of the General Affairs Council)
- Action 5 - Small and medium-sized cities: Cross-border polycentric regions
Documents and links
In the sub-chapters below (“Sous-rubriques”) you will the annotated agendas, input papers, the background reports & studies, and the Powerpoint presentations of the Informal Ministerial Meetings.
In the box “Pour en savoir plus” you will find the Presidency Conclusions, newspaper articles, a joint press release, and a link to the event page on the official Presidency website with pictures and videos.