EUROISLANDS – The Development of the Islands – European Islands and Cohesion Policy

Thematic scope

In recent years great consideration has been given to geographical particularities within the EU which seem to be significantly responsible for the persistence of regional and intraregional inequalities, affecting the development of some regions. The territorial dimension has been included in the recent cohesion reports, lending a particular dynamic in the search of more specialised and integrated policies. Based on the common acknowledgment of the particular problems that islands face but also on their opportunities for development, a specific Action concerning the European Islands has been included in the First Action Program (AP1) for the implementation of the Territorial Agenda. The EUROISLANDS targeted analysis is in line with the requirements and objectives of the AP1 and is expected to contribute to the definition of the future steps of the Action. The aim of the project is to deliver an appropriate reference work and a set of policy recommendations and strategic guidance to foster the sustainable development of the European islands within the framework of the Single Market.

Please read more about the main areas of analysis and main results envisaged.


  • Ministry of Economy & Finance, Greece (Lead Stakeholder)
  • Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), Malta
  • National Rural Development Agency (GBV), Sweden
  • Municipality of Gotland (GK), Sweden
  • Government of the Balearic Islands (CAIB), Spain
  • Department of Town Planning and Housing (DTPH), Cyprus
  • Regional Municipality of Bornholm, Department of Regional Development (RU BRK), Denmark
  • Ministry of Economic Development, DPS, Italy
  • Autonomous Region of Sardinia, Department of EU and International Affairs (RAS), Italy
  • Saaremaa County Government, Department of Development and Planning (SCG), Estonia
  • The Government of Åland, Department for Administrative Affairs (AL), Finland

Lead Partner

Research Unit – University of the Aegean (Greece)

Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups.

Budget: € 250.000,00

Project’s lifetime: February 2009 – June 2010

Delivery of Reports

Inception Report: 6 May 2009
Interim Report: 5 May 2010
Draft Final Report: 10 September 2010

Revised Draft Final Report: 10 December 2010
Final Report: 1 March 2011


Reports will be published once they are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee

More information

Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
Sandra DI BIAGGIO, e-mail: [email protected]

Main areas of analysis

  • Islands’ territorial structures and dynamics, in particular their development constraints and potentials to ensure a reasonable geographical coverage of the ESPON space and the transferability of the results to a general European context.
  • An assessment of the intensity of the constraints based on an islands typology.
  • A detailed analysis of the conditions for promoting and exploiting territorial potentials from a European, transnational, national and regional/local perspective.
  • Conclusions supporting policymakers at different levels in adapting islands’ realities and to enable islands to play a more active role in the EU both economically and socially.

Main results envisaged

  • In-depth knowledge of islands’ situation and an updated classification of European islands.
  • Evaluation of the level of divergence of islands from the European average as well as a general evaluation of the existing policy measures for the islands leading to the discussion on their adequacy and the possibility for alternative measures.
  • An analysis of the islands’ future potential from a European perspective within the coming years and an analysis on the policy options to be adopted in order to face their weaknesses and to exploit strengths and opportunities.
  • Proposals for adaptation of EU legislation.
  • An integrated system for monitoring islands’ evolution.
  • A main reference work for technical, methodological and analytical support to territorial planning processes at local level, spatial programming and strategic planning as a basis for possible follow up studies.



Final Report

  • Acrobat Document | 749KB

Annex-supporting material

  • Acrobat Document | 6.03MB

Annex-attractiveness enterprises questionnaire

  • Acrobat Document | 128KB

Annex-Attractiveness questionnaire

  • Acrobat Document | 139KB

Annex-Attractiveness Questionnaire Analysis

  • Acrobat Document | 477KB

Annex-Policy best practice

  • Acrobat Document | 62KB

Annex-Case studies

  • Acrobat Document | 2.19MB

Annex-Analysis of the relevant Literature

  • Acrobat Document | 50KB

Final Report-Atlas

  • Acrobat Document | 1.70MB

Final Report - Scientific report

  • Acrobat Document | 4.75MB

Revised Draft Final Report

  • Zip archive | 15.23MB

Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 1.50MB

Annexes Interim Report

  • Zip archive | 7.67MB

Inception Report

  • Acrobat Document | 1.01MB

Project Specification

  • Acrobat Document | 64KB