The European Union’s strategic priorities for the post-2020 period – focused on areas such as globalization, demography, migration, climate change, security and defense, employment and digitalization of the economy and society – pose relevant challenges as to the feasibility of its territorialization conditions and how to ensure operationalization at regional and local levels. As the EU prepares to implement the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 and draw up the Territorial Agenda 2030, it also seeks to relaunch the EU policy framework in areas such as sustainable development, artificial intelligence and reindustrialization, examples of which are: European Green Deal, EU Circular Economy Action Plan and EU Digital Strategy. The current context of the COVID-19 pandemic has, however, forced a refocusing of the intervention priorities, at least in the short term, in the need to respond to the urgent economic, social and public health challenges caused by the pandemic. This article seeks to analyse, on the one hand, how the European policy cycle has adapted to respond to the pandemic, and on the other, the extent to which the place-based approach, one of the central operating rationales of the 2014-2020 financial perspective, may see its role strengthened and its performance extended as a consequence of the changes introduced in the current phase of the policy cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis carried out led to concluding that the current context of COVID-19 is implying the redesign of many of the Union’s public policy instruments and reordering some of the current strategic priorities. It is also changing the conditions of resilience and competitiveness of territories, whereby the place-based approach seems to be a public policy instrument especially suited to the process of economic and social recovery at the local and regional level.
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