_ESP6252EU Cohesion Policy of the European Union has the overall goal of promoting economic prosperity and social cohesion throughout the entire territory of the Union. The legislative pack setting the rules and the priority themes for the policy after 2014 are in negotiation in Brussels. Managing Authorities and their Joint Technical Secretariats are gearing up the preparations of new Operational Programmes for 2014-2020.

The key documents are available (legislative proposals for cohesion policy during the period 2014-2020, "Common Strategic Framework") to help Member States and their regions prepare for the next programming period. EC DG Regio More.

The European Union has since the programming for 2007-2013 added the objective of Territorial Cohesion and is opting for an integrated, place-based approach. EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 shall contribute to the EU 2020 Strategy of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This is the challenge for the new programming.

Policy makers shall even more in the current economic climate deliver results which are based on evidence in order to ensure the most efficient spending of funds. Programme strategies, thematic priorities and projects shall deliver coherently. Projects on specific themes shall be funded in the places where the need or potential is the highest.

By end of 2013, many national and regional authorities acting as Managing Authorities will submit their operational programmes to the EC. In support of this programming, ESPON offers substantial territorial evidence on a large number of relevant themes as well as useful tools supporting the necessary analyses positioning the programme area in the European context, its potentials and challenges. Managing Authorities are invited to make use of the available ESPON research results, analyses, data, indicators and tailor made tools that fits the ideas and visions for their Operational Programme for 2014-2020.

What is special about ESPON?

ESPON has the role to support policy development in relation to EU Cohesion Policy. The programme provides pan-European evidence and knowledge about European territorial structures, trends, perspectives and policy impacts which enable comparisons amongst regions and cities. This forms a basis for finding additional opportunities for growth as well as challenges that needs attention in a world where the larger territorial context is an inevitable reality.

For a decade ESPON has played this key role within EU Cohesion Policy in support of policy development providing comparable pan-European evidence, analyses and scenarios on territorial dynamics that help regions, cities and larger territories in taking evidence-based decisions on their future development. In doing so ESPON has built up a unique knowledge and evidence base that is available and accessible for free.

What can ESPON offer to national and regional authorities?


At the ESPON High Level Conference on Targeted Analyses in 2011, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn commenting on the ESPON`s benefits to the EU, said: "ESPON provides the European Commission with a lot of information and studies dealing with territorial cooperation".

Regarding the Cohesion policy, Commissioner Hahn said: “One of the main objectives is to improve cohesion policy in the way that you have a more result-orientated policy [..]. For that purpose we need ESPON and the knowledge of ESPON to offer regions [...] tailor-made solutions for their operational programmes.” Watch the video

ESPON evidence, tools and maps as well as events can help Member States and their regions prepare for the next programming period.


ESPON Evidence from projects

Factsheets for Cross-border and Transnational Co-operation Areas

ESPON Tools and Maps

ESPON Events :