Transnational Seminar "New thinking on territorial governance"
with special focus on the Baltic States


Vilnius, Lithuania

17 November 2017

Jakšto 4/9
LT-01105 Vilnius

"New thinking on territorial governance - with special focus on the Baltic States" 

This seminar was an ESPON transnational outreach activity organised in cooperation with Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Date: 17 November 2017 (10.00-17.00)

Venue: Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Jakšto 4/9, Vilnius LT-01105

The seminar focused on three case studies from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but welcomes other stakeholders from Northern Europe who are interested in territorial governance.

Target audience:         

  • National, regional and local officials from Northern Europe responsible for territorial governance;
  • Stakeholders involved in the implementation of HA Capacity of the EUSBSR;
  • Members in the UBC, the Baltic Sea NGO network, BSSSC;
  • Euroregions in Northern Europe;
  • Local Action Groups and Fisheries Local Action Groups from Northern Europe;
  • Members of local and regional Councils, MPs;
  • Members of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference;
  • Officials from the Northern Europe involved in the design and implementation of ESIF programmes including European Territorial Cooperation;
  • VASAB;
  • Municipal associations from Northern Europe;
  • Governance officials involved in the development of the Comprehensive Plan for the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania 2030-2050;
  • Governance officials involved in the local and regional administrative reform in Estonia;
  • Governance officials involved in the joint service centres and regional policy guidelines in Latvia.

Aim and rationale

The seminar examined the administrative reforms in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as the ensuing local and regional administrative structures and cooperation models. It provides in-depth knowledge about ESPON comparative analysis of territorial governance models and looked into how ESPON research can fertilise administrative and governance structures and future reforms in Northern Europe, in particular in the three Baltic countries.

 The seminar focused on the following ESPON research:

  • Comparative analysis of territorial governance (COMPASS);
  • Success factors for regional development strategies, taking into account the changing role of regional authorities (ReSSI);
  • Potential and risks of territorial cooperation areas as compared with existing political-administrative entities (ACTAREA).


The overall objective of the ongoing Compass project is to provide an authoritative comparative report on territorial governance and spatial planning systems in Europe. It will substantially improve the knowledge base on territorial governance and spatial planning, and in particular, their role in the formulation and implementation of EU Cohesion Policy. The COMPASS project will describe and explain changes in territorial governance and spatial planning systems and policies across Europe since 2000. It will examine the reasons for these changes with particular reference to EU directives and policies and identify good practices for the cross-fertilization of spatial and territorial development policies with EU Cohesion Policy. The  in-depth analysis of the role of EU Cohesion Policy and other macro-level EU policies in shaping territorial governance and spatial planning systems and their impacts on concrete practice, and the influence of territorial governance and spatial planning on EU sector policies will also be carried out.


The ReSSI project analyses how sustainable, inclusive and smart development can be promoted by local and regional authorities in four European regions, characterised by evolving territorial governance and spatial planning frameworks.  The project examines how crisis and austerity policies impacts on cities and regions, challenges and opportunities for cities and regions and governance regimes.  The effects of the 2008 financial crisis highlighted the relevance of the study of governance regimes, as they reflect the distinct forms of designing and delivering policy in the current context of public action. The report notes that lack of funding, political fragmentation and institutional fragilities all challenge the promotion of sustainable, inclusive and smart growth compounded by significant changes to the composition of public expenditure in some Member States.


This current ESPON project examines new forms of cooperation areas based on functional approach or political initiative in the light of policy aims related to polycentric and balanced territorial development. Based on the Swiss experience in defining the so-called “action areas”, this project explores the added value and potentials of new forms of cooperation areas. In particular it analyses which tasks and territorial/political context “action areas” do make sense in terms of territorial cooperation.

For further information, please contact [email protected]

The seminar offered to opportunity to network and establish partnerships for ESPON Targeted Analyses.

What are Targeted Analyses? Since 2007, this ESPON offer has been supporting territorial development processes at local, regional and national levels in Europe by bringing together policy makers who share the same kinds of challenges and who are looking for new territorial evidence and a European perspective. Applying sound methodologies and providing scientific expertise, ESPON Targeted Analysis deliver demand-driven and tailor-made analytical studies in support of territorial decision-making.

If you are interested to learn more about the ESPON Targeted Analyses, access this link here