Integrated territorial development in lake regions in Europe

Article 174 of the TFEU states that: '’the Union shall aim at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions. Among the regions concerned, particular attention shall be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps such as northernmost regions with very low population density and island, cross border and mountainous regions’'.

Overall, the focus of policy attention has been on certain categories of regions such as mountains, islands, sparsely populated areas, cross-border regions, rural areas and areas affected by industrial transition. This policy paper describes the value of considering lake regions as specific territories requiring a similar attention from a policy perspective. The evidence presented in this publication is based on the results of the “ESPON LAKES Project” that has explored how the notion of "integrated territorial development”, which is a guiding principle of EU Cohesion Policy.

This policy brief provides recommendations to foster an integrated place-based approach for territorial development in lake regions and cooperation between them, maximising people’s quality of life by balancing economic, environmental and social concerns.