National Territorial Cohesion Contact Points meeting in Bucharest, 19-20 March 2019:


A new meeting of the NTCCP took place in Bucharest on 19-20 March during the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. This working group of member states, EU institutions, regional and local associations and other stakeholders aimed to contribute to the renewal of the Territorial Agenda, stressing key challenges and current trends for Europe with a clear impact on territorial development. AEBR stressed the relevance of the European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM) and a potential solution for daily cross-border matters, in particular legal and administrative obstacles.

During the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019, as usual, a new meeting of the National Territorial Cohesion Contact Points (NTCCP) was organized in Bucharest on 19-20 March 2019. Since its creation in 2007, the NTCCP continues following the debates on the future of the Cohesion Policy, focusing in particular on the revision of EU Territorial and Urban Agendas. On occasion of this meeting, the working group aimed to contribute to the renewal process of the Territorial Agenda which will be discussed during the next Finnish and Croatian presidencies, in order to be adopted under the German Presidency in the second half of 2020. Representatives of national ministries together with DG Regio, ESPON, the European Investment Bank, CPMR, CEMR and AEBR participated in the discussions.

At the meeting in Bucharest ESPON presented an input paper which informs the discussion on the Territorial Agenda post-2020, the “Territorial Reference Framework for Europe”. The paper illustrates key challenges for Europe as well as current trends which are likely to influence Europe’s future. These trends have a clear impact on the territorial development of Europe, comprising growing urban environments, migration flows and the redistribution of global gateways. In the paper the study group proposes various policy pathways to tackle these challenges, and strong attention is paid to cooperation as a policy option. As such, cooperation is reckoned as an essential feature of European policy making and it should become part of more EU-funded projects, not only Interreg.  Cooperation between places, sectors and societal groups should be a clear European approach to foster territorial cohesion. AEBR has participated in the consultations contributing to the drafting of the input paper, welcomes the approach proposed by ESPON and will follow the final outputs in order to share and discuss them with European border and cross-border regions.

In the course of the renewal process of the Territorial Agenda during the Romanian Presidency, the aim is to complete its strategic scope and the political embedding. While waiting to assess the results of the questionnaire launched at the end of February to start a consultation process with Member States, the Romanian Presidency pointed out that the Territorial Agenda post 2020 can be a platform that could use the synergies of other European strategies to improve the impact of Cohesion Policy. To this end, Romania will present a declaration linking the Urban Agenda to the Territorial Agenda in June.

On occasion of the meeting of the NTCCP, AEBR, echoing the remarks made by the representative of Luxembourg, has stressed the relevance for a policy tool as the European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM) to allow for a better implementation of cross-border practices which enable territorial cohesion. To gain more insights on the applicability of the ECBM, the project b-solutions offers the possibility to collect relevant data and information. To this end, AEBR will share the outcomes of this projects with the NTCCP in future meetings.

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