Territorial Vision for Europe towards 2050

Workshop organised by ESPON
Location: Brussels

Background and Objectives

Policymakers in the field of territorial development and cohesion have asked for the development of a future oriented, long-term and integrated vision on the development of the European territory.

In a period of economic and political uncertainty, existing long-term perceptions guiding policy development are challenged. Previous forecasts and policy ideas may have become obsolete. The speed of change is often faster than our capacity to adapt our previous expectations. And new forecasts risk to be easily discredited.

These dynamics have a territorial dimension that influences competitiveness and cohesion in Europe, the balances and structures within the European territory, and they have impact on long-term growth and job opportunities as well as challenges for regions and cities.

In this context, a long-term reference framework for policy thinking, which is informed by evidence and related to the development of the European territory, is considered to be helpful for policy makers in taking decisions today that will shape or influence conditions for the next generations.

ESPON has been asked by the 31 countries behind the programme to elaborate a Territorial Vision for Europe in 2050. The vision is meant to guide policy debate on territorial development and provide a coherent European framework for policy initiatives at different decision-making levels. The ESPON project ET2050 has the challenging task to support this territorial vision-building process and use a participatory process involving relevant stakeholders at European, national and regional level.

The ET2050 project has so far been exploring different possible future scenarios for Europe. All scenarios find their basis in the Europe 2020 Strategy and are to support a strategic policy debate up to 2030 and further towards a Vision for the European Territory in 2050.

A very important objective of the workshop is to raise awareness among all relevant stakeholders on the work that is done and to involve them in dialogue and cooperation on the development of a Territorial Vision for Europe towards 2050.
It is crucial that policy makers and stakeholders related to territorial development participate and influence the elaboration of a Territorial Vision 2050 for Europe. At the workshop opinions on a Territorial Vision in general and on a first draft text towards the vision will be used to continue the process of building a Territorial Vision 2050 that is supported by a large variety of stakeholders.

Aim and Structure

The workshop starts presenting scenarios and striking results for Europe in 2030 and 2050. Several prospective documents at European and global level as well as already received inputs from stakeholders will add to the evidence base for a first version of a Territorial Vision for Europe 2050. The first draft text towards the vision will be presented for discussion. Parallel workshop sessions involving different groups of stakeholders are supposed to nourish the further drafting and participatory process with recommendations and ideas related to a Territorial Vision 2050.

Target Groups

The three groups of stakeholders invited to express their views, expectations and dreams are:
1) Policy makers, including representatives of European Institutions;
2) Practitioners, including representatives from Territorial Cooperation Programmes;
3) Organisations active at EU level in the field of territorial development and cohesion.

The ESPON 2013 Programme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the EU Member States and the Partner States Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
It shall support policy development in relation to the aim of territorial cohesion and a harmonious development of the European territory. ESPON shall support Cohesion Policy development with European wide, comparable information, evidence, analyses and scenarios on framework conditions for the development of regions, cities and larger territories. In doing so, it shall facilitate the mobilisation of territorial capital and development opportunities, contributing to improving European competitiveness, to the widening and deepening of European territorial cooperation and to a sustainable and balanced development.
The Managing Authority responsible for the ESPON 2013 Programme is the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures, Department for Spatial Planning and Development of Luxembourg.

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