Inner peripheries in Europe - Possible development strategies to overcome their marginalising effects

Inner peripheral areas are present in almost all European countries; they deserve political attention in order to support the essential action of local stakeholders that are dealing with the associated challenges. 

These areas can (a) be enclaves of low economic potential, (b) experience poor access to services of general interest or (c) a lack of relational proximity. A combination of these is also possible.

It becomes more and more important to develop strategic institutional capacity by

  • establishing cooperation and connectedness across boundaries and
  • making use of established national and EU programmes.

Connectedness, in particular,  generates synergies, networks and other types of links that allow inner peripheries to be part of the decision-making process instead of being mere spectators of them.

Developing strategic plans with an integrated approach, addressing in particular the need to overcome the lack of cooperation, appears to be important for all types of inner peripheries. This makes visible the specific needs of inner peripheries, enlarges their influence at higher policy decision-making levels and increases their development potential in general.

To support inner peripheries in developing strategic plans and cooperation, it is recommended that the role of intermediary regional agencies or platforms is strengthened and that their long-term effectiveness is ensured.

Inner peripheral regions appear to have a shared perception of “being forgotten” in the national political agenda. Therefore, at the regional, national and European levels, inner peripheries need to be given the necessary political attention and support for their development processes to overcome their marginalising effects.

Full access to the ESPON Policy Brief “Inner peripheries in Europe” below.

Further reading on this topic: ESPON 2017, “Inner Peripheries: National Territories Facing Challenges of Access to Basic Services of General Interest”.

Need help on this topic? Contact our Senior Project Expert Marjan van Herwijnen (Tel: 00352 20 600 280 18; e-mail: [email protected])