The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP) and the European Grouping on Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) ESPON 2020 have organised the ESPON Seminar – The role of functional zones in territorial cohesion in Iași, on 19 – 20 June 2019, in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.
The event gathered over 200 participants from 30 countries from Europe and Africa and offered, among other things, information on 13 recently concluded research projects on various topics relevant to the territorial cohesion debate, including:
territorial impact assessment;
Other topics included solutions for the definition and implementation of policies that support areas in decline, the ways new industries, new types of occupation and new flows can define functional areas and the need to reimagine territorial cohesion by concentrating the Cohesion Policy of the European Union on approaches customised for each territory.
At the opening of the meeting, MDRAP Secretary of State Virgil-Alin Chirilă, as coordinator of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council events for the Ministry, underscored that the territorial dimension of cohesion is a way of transforming diversity into a value that helps the sustainable development of the Community project: “The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union started from the notion that the most important principles that we have to consider at this time are the unity and the cohesion of the European Union. If we want this project to go forward, then all of us must go forward. We have a common goal, and only together can we strengthen the confidence in the fundamental values that unite us. Therefore, cohesion is both a common European value and an expression of the unity of the states, regions and citizens of the European Union.”
MDRAP also organised the Meeting of the ESPON 2020 Monitoring Committee and the meeting of the Post-2020 ESPON Programme Preparation workgroup, in Iași, on 17-18 June 2019, in cooperation with the ESPON Management Authority.
Additionally, on 20-21 June, also in Iași, the meeting of the ESPON Contacts will be held, an event that also enjoys the support of the Iași Prefect’s Office and which is to be attended by representatives nominated by member states and partner states to the Programme, most of them experts from the academia.
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The ESPON (European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion) 2020 cooperation programme continues the ESPON 2013 Programme and has the goal of supporting research of the European territory and the rationale for European policies.
ESPON supports discussions on the future cohesion policy and preparations for the next generation of national, regional and local strategies and programmes.
The area of the programme covers the territory of the 28 European Union member states and the 4 partner states of the programme (Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland). The total budget of ESPON 2020 is 48.6 million Euros, of which 41.3 million is the allocation from the European Regional Development Fund for 2014-2020.
Romania is represented in the ESPON Monitoring Committee by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration, which also fulfils the role of National Authority of the Programme.