ESPON ATLAS - Territorial Dimensions of the Europe 2020 Strategy

coverJune 2013 - ESPON has published an Atlas to analyse the territorial dimension of the Europe 2020 Strategy and to present the regional and, when possible, urban dimension of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth as defined in the Strategy.

The ATLAS delivers territorial evidence, including maps that illustrate major trends, potentials and challenges facing regions and cities and allows policy makers comparing and benchmarking their territories towards the targets related to the Strategy.

A tool for regional development strategies in support of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth

Policy makers at various scales can benefit from the ATLAS in the process of identifying territorial actions, for example at the scale of regions and local authorities and in the preparation of regional development strategies.

The Atlas clearly demonstrates that pan-European territorial evidence in support of the Europe 2020 is pertinent. With the Atlas users can identify:

(1) which types of regions have what opportunities with regard to exploiting their territorial potentials in support of smart, sustainable and inclusive territories in Europe, and

(2) which types of regions can be perceived as key drivers for development and growth at various scales.

The evidence from the ATLAS furthermore enables policy makers to have more in-depth monitoring and steering of their implementation of the strategy.


  • The EUROPE 2020 is an ambitious Strategy. Some regions do already or will be able to meet the Europe 2020 policy targets but regions should not reach all their national or EU targetsThere is a main division between the Centre-North and the rest of Europe in relation to the Europe 2020 indicators.
  • Regions in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Cyprus and Malta are on a promising move towards Europe 2020.
  • Regions of Portugal, Spain, Southern Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are rather challenged in terms of meeting the Europe 2020 objectives.

Key insights in support of policy development

Achieving a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through the Europe 2020 Strategy has a territorial dimension. It is important to ensure that different policies and EU Cohesion Policy in particular, take on board the territorial dimension, build on the diversity of regional potentials and challenges.

To support policy development, the ATLAS concludes that:

  • Policy-makers should take into account the specificities of their territory in the implementation of policies contributing to the Strategy. There are various ways in which regions and cities can contribute to the EUROPE 2020 objectives. The contribution by regions and cities requires a placed based integrated policy and a strong commitment and coordinated actions from policymakers at different geographical levels.
  • Regions and local authorities can make a key contribution to the achievement of the Strategy through the definition of territorial actions under their competence. 

More information


ESPON ATLAS - Territorial Dimensions of the Europe 2020 Strategy.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 27.79MB

  • Zip archive | 37.08MB

Article The ESPON Atlas - Territorial Dimensions of the EU 2020.pdf

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