Polycentric Territorial Structures and Territorial Cooperation: What, where and how?


Brussels, Belgium

Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU

13 September 2016

Avenue de Cortenbergh 107
Email: [email protected]

For many years, polycentricity has been regarded as a concept of a favourable territorial structure of Europe that should be promoted in order to ensure accessibility of jobs and services to inhabitants in the regions using the accumulated capacity and potential of urban nodes, working jointly, borrowing each other’s strengths and exploring comparative advantages together.

In order to discuss the potentials for further development and practical application of this concept, ESPON EGTC and the EU Presidency of Slovakia have agreed to prepare a Policy Brief focusing on polycentric territorial structures and territorial cooperation.

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The aim of this policy brief is, firstly, to contribute to further considerations on a potential EU Territorial Reference Framework which could support relevant policy processes, such as the update of the EU Territorial Agenda post 2020 and the development of EU Cohesion policy post 2020. Secondly, the Policy Brief will offer some guidance to policy makers for a wider use of certain territorial governance and territorial cooperation arrangements to support polycentric networks in the EU.

The Brief is guided by questions on:

  • What has been done in terms of European policy development so far?
  • Where are the opportunities for more polycentric development in Europe?
  • How policy makers at European, national, regional and local level could engage in territorial cooperation arrangements to support further polycentric development?

As part of the development of the document, ESPON in cooperation with the EU Presidency of Slovakia invited relevant policymakers and stakeholders to a workshop to discuss the draft policy brief.

ESPON introduced the brief, followed by five presentations on examples of territorial polycentric cooperation across Europe. This was followed by an open discussion, which provided constructive comments on the brief and suggestions for improvements. Especially the question why polycentricity is important was emphasised by many of the participants. The comments will be taken into the final Policy Brief, which will be submitted for debate at the EU Directors’ General meeting on territorial cohesion in Bratislava on October 3, 2016.

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The workshop attracted policy makers, practitioners, researchers and the private sector at European, national and regional level.


The ESPON Workshop took place on 14 September 2016 at the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU.


Please don’t hesitate to contact ESPON ([email protected]) should you need further information.


Programme Version 7 September 2016

  • Acrobat Document | 433KB

List of attendees

  • Acrobat Document | 21KB

Ilona Raugze

  • Acrobat Document | 632KB

Paul Grohman

  • Acrobat Document | 1,024KB

Manfred Perlik

  • Acrobat Document | 1.88MB

Radu Necsuliu

  • Acrobat Document | 877KB

Peter Austin

  • Acrobat Document | 1.38MB

Hans Hede

  • Acrobat Document | 4.89MB