Object structure

System error. Reflections on the permanent failure of territoriality of the European Cohesion Policy


Europa XXI 39 (2020 )


Gyelník, Teodor : Autor ORCID ; Ocskay, Gyula : Autor ORCID


Gyelník, Teodor : Central European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives (CESCI) ; Ocskay, Gyula : Central European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives (CESCI)



Place of publishing:


Date issued/created:



29 cm

Type of object:



The aim of this article is to generate a debate on the definition and application of the territorial approach of future EU Cohesion Policy. Territorial cohesion, its instruments and tools have formed a specific ‘paradigm’, ‘disciplinary matrix’ and ‘vocabulary’. However, a peculiar dichotomy resonates: the EU’s global economic competitiveness objective is (usually) confronted by its territorial cohesion objectives. Permanent failure is generated and anomalies of the territorial cohesion paradigm are on the rise. Are we at the threshold of a new scientific revolution inside the EU and within its territorial cohesion matrix?


Abrahams, G. (2014). What "Is" Territorial Cohesion? What Does It "Do"?: Essentialist Versus Pragmatic Approaches to Using Concepts. European Planning Studies, 22(10), 2134-2155. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2013.819838 DOI
Allmendinger, P., Haughton, G., Knieling, J., & Othengrafen, F. (2015). Soft spaces, planning and emerging practices of territorial governance. In P., Allmendinger, G., Haughton, J., Knieling & F., Othengrafen (Eds.). Soft Spaces in Europe. Re-negotiating governance, boundaries and borders (pp. 3-22). London-New York, NY: Routledge.
Anderson, J., O'Dowd, L., & Wilson, T. M. (2003). Why Study Borders Now? In J., Anderson, L., O'Dowd, & T. M., Wilson (Eds.). New Borders for a Changing Europe. Cross-Border Cooperation and Governance (pp. 1-12). London-New York, NY: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. DOI
Bachtler, J., Martins, J.O., Wostner, P., & Żuber, P. (2017). Towards Cohesion Policy 4.0. Structural transformation and inclusive growth. Working Paper. Brussels: Regional Studies Association.
Barca, F. (2009). An agenda for a reformed Cohesion Policy. A place-based approach to meeting European Union challenges and expectations. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/archive/policy/future/pdf/report_barca_v0306.pdf
Bell, C. (2009). Ritual, Theory, Ritual Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Böhme, K., Doucet, P., Komornicki, T., Zaucha, J., & Świątek, D. (2011). How to strengthen the territorial dimension of "Europe 2020" and EU Cohesion Policy. Warsaw.
Böhme, K., Lüer, C., & Holstein, F. (2020). From Territorial Impact Assessment to Territorial Foresight. In E., Medeiros (Ed.). Territorial Impact Assessment (pp. 157-176). Cham: Springer. DOI
Capello, R. (2009). Space, growth and development. In R., Capello & P., Nijkamp (Ed.). Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories (pp. 33-52). Cheltenham-Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. DOI
CESCI (2015). For a more place-based approach. Position paper of CESCI on the Future of Cohesion Policy. Retrieved from https://budapest.cesci-net.eu/en/for-a-more-place-based-approach-positionpaper-of-cesci-on-the-future-of-cohesion-policy/
COE (1983). Resolution no. 2 on the European Regional/Spatial Planning Charter (Torremolinos Charter). Council of Europe. Agreed at the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning (CEMAT). Retrieved from https://rm.coe.int/6th-european-conference-of-ministers-responsible-for-regional-planning/168076dd93
Doucet, P., Böhme, K., & Zaucha, J. (2014). EU territory and policy-making: from words to deeds to promote policy integration. European Journal of Spatial Development.
EC (1957). The Treaty of Rome 25 March 1957. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/romania/sites/romania/files/tratatul_de_la_roma.pdf
EC (1987). Single European Act. 17 February 1986, 1987 O.J. (L 169) 1, 25 I.L.M. 506. DOI
EC (1999). ESDP. European Spatial Development Perspective. Towards Balanced and Sustainable Development of the Territory of the European Union. Luxembourg: European Commission.
EC (2001). Second Report on Economic and Social Cohesion. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/official/reports/pdf/conclu1_en.pdf
EC (2004). A new partnership for cohesion. Convergence, competitiveness, cooperation. Third report on economic and social cohesion. Luxemburg: European Communities.
EC (2007). Growing regions, Growing Europe. Fourth Report on Economic and Social Cohesion. Luxembourg: European Commission. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/official/reports/cohesion4/index_en.htm
EC (2008). Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Committee of the regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion Turning territorial diversity into strength. COM(2008) 616 final. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0616:FIN:EN:PDF
EC (2010). Investing in Europe's future. Fifth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion. European Commission. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/reports/2010/fifth-report-on-economic-social-and-territorial-cohesion-investing-in-europe-s-future
EC (2014). Investment for jobs and growth. Promoting development and good governance in EU regions and cities. Sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion. Luxembourg: European Commission. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/reports/2014/6th-report-on-economic-social-and-territorial-cohesion
EC (2017). My Region, My Europe, Our Future. Seventh report on economic, social and territorial cohesion. Luxembourg: European Commission. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/cohesion-report/
ESPON (2012). INTERCO. Indicators of territorial cohesion. Scientific Platform and Tools Project 2013/3/2. Final Report, Part B, Report. Retrieved from https://www.espon.eu/programme/projects/espon-2013/scientific-platform/interco-indicators-territorial-cohesion
ESPON (2013). KITCASP. Key Indicators for Territorial Cohesion and Spatial Planning. Targeted Analysis 2013/2/20. Final Report. Part B, Main Report. Retrieved from https://www.espon.eu/programme/projects/espon-2013/targeted-analyses/kitcasp-key-indicators-territorial-cohesion-and
EU (1992). Treaty on European Union (Consolidated Version), Treaty of Maastricht. 7 February 1992, Official Journal of the European Communities C 325/5.
EU (1997). Treaty on European Union (Consolidated Version), Treaty of Amsterdam. 2 October 1997. Retrieved from https://europa.eu/european-union/sites/europaeu/files/docs/body/treaty_of_amsterdam_en.pdf
EU (2005). The Territorial State and Perspectives of the European Union Document. Towards a Stronger European Territorial Cohesion in the Light of the Lisbon and Gothenburg Ambitions. Retrieved from https://www.ccre.org/docs/territorial_state_and_perspectives.pdf
EU (2007). Territorial Agenda of the European Union. Towards a More Competitive and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/policy/what/territorial-cohesion/territorial_agenda_leipzig2007.pdf
EU (2007). First Action Programme for the Implementation of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/policy/what/territorial-cohesion/territorial_agenda_first_action_plan.pdf
EU (2011). Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020. Towards an Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/policy/what/territorial-cohesion/territorial_agenda_2020.pdf
EU (2012). Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - Protocols - Annexes - Declarations annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007. OJ C 326, 26/10/2012 P. 0001-0390. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12012E/TXT&from=EN
EU (2020). Territorial Agenda. A future for all places. Retrieved from https://www.territorialagenda.eu/files/agenda_theme/agenda_data/Territorial%20Agenda%20documents/TerritorialAgenda2030_201201.pdf
Evans, D. (1996). An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge.
Faludi, A. (2009). Territorial Cohesion under the Looking Glass. Synthesis paper about the history of the concept and policy background to territorial cohesion. Brussels: European Commission. Retrieved from http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:112891b3-3dd6-4252-b0a5-452e5665f0d9
Faludi, A. (2012). Beyond Lisbon: Soft European Spatial Planning. disP - The Planning Review, 46(182), 14-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/02513625.2010.10557098 DOI
Faludi, A. (2013). Territory: An Unknown Quantity in Debates on Territorial Cohesion. European Journal of Spatial Development, 51.
Faludi, A. (2018). The Poverty of Territorialism. A Neo-Medieval View of Europe and European Planning. Cheltenham-Northampton MA: Edward Elgar. DOI
Foucault, M. (1966/2002). The Order of Things: An archaeology of the human sciences. London-New York, NY: Routledge.
Foucault, M. (1972/1980). Power/knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.
Foucault, M. (1978). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books. DOI
Furedi, F. (2021). Why Borders Matter: Why Humanity Must Relearn the Art of Drawing Boundaries. London, New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. DOI
Gregory, D. (2004). The Colonial Present. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Habermas, J. (2012). The Crisis of the European Union in the Light of a Constitutionalization of International Law. The European Journal of International Law, 23(2), 335-348. https://doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chs019 DOI
Hacking, I. (2012). Introductory Essay. In T., Kuhn (Ed.). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (pp. vii-xiv). Chicago-London: The University of Chicago Press.
Harvey, D. (2011). The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism. London: Verso.
Kuhn, S. T. (1962/1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Kuhn, S.T. (1962/1970/1996/2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Laclau, E. (2007). Emancipation(s). London: Verso.
March, G. J. (1991). Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning. Organization Science, 2(1), 71-87. DOI
McCarthy, T. (2009). Race, Empire, and the Idea of Human development. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. DOI
Medeiros, E. (2014). Assessing Territorial Impacts of the EU Cohesion Policy at the Regional Level: the Case of Algarve. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 32(3), 198-212. https://doi.org/10.1080/14615517.2014.915134 DOI
Medeiros, E. (2016). Territorial Cohesion: An EU concept. European Journal of Spatial Development, 60.
Mill, J. S. (2001). Representative Government 1861. Kitchener: Batoche Books.
Neumann, I. (2013). Diplomatic Sites: A Critical Enquiry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI
O'Dowd, L. (2003). The Changing Significance of European Borders. In J., Anderson, L., O'Dowd & T. M., Wilson (Eds.). New Borders for a Changing Europe. Cross-Border Cooperation and Governance (pp. 13-36). London-New York, NY: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
Olsen, P. J. (2010). Governing through Institution Building: Institutional Theory and Recent European Experiments in Democratic Organization. Oxford-New York, NY: University Press. DOI
Paasi, A. (2011). A "Border theory": an unattainable dream or a realistic aim for border scholars? In D., Wastl-Walter (Ed.). Companion to border studies (pp. 11-31). Farnham: Ashgate.
Popescu, G. (2012). Bordering and Ordering the Twenty-first Century. Understanding Borders. Lanham-Boulder-New York-Toronto-Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Rechnitzer, J., & Smahó, M. (2011). Területi politika. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
Reitel, B., Wassenberg, B., & Peyrony, J. (2018). The INTERREG Experience in Bridging European Territories. A 30-Year Summary. In E., Medeiros (Ed.). European Territorial Cooperation. Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to the Process and Impacts of Cross-Border and Transnational Cooperation in Europe (pp. 7-23). Cham: Springer. DOI
Rodrik, D. (2000). How Far Will International Economic Integration Go? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(1), 177-186. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.14.1.177 DOI
Rodrik, D. (2011). The Globalization Paradox. Democracy and the Future of the World Economy. Oxford-New York, NY: Oxford University Press. DOI
Sack, R. D. (1986). Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shakespeare, W. (1599-1602/1999) The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/People/maxf/XSLideMaker/hamlet.pdf
Stinchombe, A. (1987). Constructing Social Theories. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Svensson, S., & Balogh, P. (2018). Limits to Integration: Persisting Border Obstacles in the EU. In E., Medeiros (Ed.). European Territorial Cooperation. Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to the Process and Impacts of Cross-Border and Transnational Cooperation in Europe (pp. 115-134). Cham: Springer. DOI
Taylor, D. (2011). Michel Foucault: Key Concepts. Durham: Acumen.
Telle, S. (2018). The 'Added Value' of Soft Spaces to EU Cohesion Policy Comparing Cross-Border Cooperation in Two Central European Euroregions. Dissertation. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325596113_The_'Added_Value'_of_Soft_Spaces_to_EU_Cohesion_Policy_Comparing_Cross-Border_Cooperation_in_Two_Central_European_Euroregions
van Houtum, H. (1998). The Development of Cross-Border Economic Relations. Amsterdam: ThelaThesis Publishers.
van Houtum, H. (2003). Borders of Comfort: Spatial Economic Bordering Processes in the European Union. In J., Anderson, L., O'Dowd &T. M., Wilson (Eds.). New Borders for a Changing Europe. Cross-Border Cooperation and Governance (pp. 37-58). London-New York, NY: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
Veggeland, N. (2004). Post-national governance and transboundary regionalization. Spatial partnership formations as democratic exit, loyalty and voice options? In O., Kramsch & B., Hooper (Eds.). Cross-Border Governance in the European Union (pp. 157-170). Abingdon-New York, NY: Routledge.
Weedon, C. (1987/1993). Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
Zielonka, J. (2006). Europe as Empire. The Nature of the Enlarged European Union. Oxford-New York, NY: Oxford University Press. DOI
Zonneveld, W., & Waterhout, B. (2009). EU Territorial Impact Assessment: Under what Conditions? OTB Research Institute, Delft University of Technology. Retrieved from https://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/5987/tiareport_zonneveld02072009.pdf


Europa XXI



Start page:


End page:


Resource type:


Detailed Resource Type:




Resource Identifier:

1429-7132 (print) ; 2300-8547 (online) ; 10.7163/Eu21.2020.39.7


CBGiOŚ. IGiPZ PAN, call nos.: Cz.6406, Cz.6407 ; click here to follow the link



Language of abstract:



Creative Commons Attribution BY 4.0 license

Terms of use:

Copyright-protected material. [CC BY 4.0] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY 4.0 license, full text available at: ; -

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Central Library of Geography and Environmental Protection. Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization PAS

Projects co-financed by:

Operational Program Digital Poland, 2014-2020, Measure 2.3: Digital accessibility and usefulness of public sector information; funds from the European Regional Development Fund and national co-financing from the state budget.





Citation style: