It is the people who make the place

Joined investments should be promoted further as they help us use public resources available in a more efficient way. That was the message of Ilona’s Raugze, director of ESPON EGTC speech, during an event co-organised by the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions and EURACTIV.COM.

Mrs Raugze presented the main findings of a recent ESPON study according to which almost 45 % of the entire EU space is covered by inner peripheries, suffering from poor economy, unfavourable demographic situation or lack of access to centres and services. To tackle these issues, we need to “further strengthen what we call a place-based approach of cohesion policy that helps to address the needs of the citizens of cities and regions at the very nuclear level, and help them to define and implement their solutions addressing the challenges of the different places”, says the director of ESPON.

Cohesion can play a key role in this process and ESPON advocates for a Cohesion policy that respects and strengthen 4 key elements:

  1. Offering support to local and regional strategies – designed and implemented through a genuine participatory approach, involving citizens as co-owners of these strategies.
  2. Further promoting joint investment both within Interreg and mainstream programmes. Places today are becoming increasingly interlinked.
  3. Offering and further strengthening tools (ITIs, CLLDs) to support integrated territorial development.
  4. Continuously investing in the capacity building of stakeholders to make sure they become active change-agents and leaders by developing their knowledge, skills and offer opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.

In the video, you can also find some highlights and key statements from Mr. Van Nistelroj, Member of the European Parliament and Mrs. Spinant, DG Regio Director