A First Stock Take: Integrated Territorial Approaches in Cohesion Policy 2014-20

Cite as: van der Zwet, A., Miller, S., & Gross, F. (2014) A First Stock Take: Integrated Territorial Approaches in Cohesion Policy 2014-20. IQ-Net Thematic Paper, Vol.35, No.2, European Policies Research Centre, Glasgow

Territorial approaches are a more prominent part of Cohesion policy in the 2014-20 period. Under the evolving urban dimension in European Structural and Investment Funds, the new regulations stipulate a ring-fenced budget of five percent of expenditure for Integrated Sustainable Urban Development (ISUD). New tools to implement territorial approaches have been introduced, including Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) and Community-led Local Development (CLLD). The manner in which territorial approaches are programmed, funded, thematically focussed and implemented differs greatly across IQ-Net countries/regions. The governance arrangements require a significant level of delegation to the local level, but not all countries use Intermediate Bodies to achieve this. Geographically, ITIs tend to focus on urban areas but can also target sub-regional areas, interregional areas or regions with specific territorial features. Selecting ITIs either happens through pre-selection (based on indicators or a political process) or competitive selection. Local bodies will be significantly involved in the implementation of the strategies, taking on responsibilities concerning the development of strategies, animation and project generation, selection or pre-selection of project activities.

Funding allocations for CLLD vary significantly across Member States and regions. Some use CLLD in a large range of geographical areas, including urban and peri-urban areas. Most Member States will implement CLLD across multiple OPs, contributing to a range of thematic goals. Most CLLD management approaches retain programme Managing Authorities (MAs) in a management role. CLLD can also be used on a cross-border basis. The approach for 2014-20 is an extension of existing methods and fits within emerging domestic policy frameworks. Many authorities at Member State level recognise the value of integrated territorial approaches, although satisfying local actors’ expectations is not alwasy easy. Other challenges include local capacity issues in relation to implementing territorial approaches, questions concerning how thematic concentration and results-orientation align with ring-fenced territorial approaches, and insufficinet guidance.

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