RSA workshop on the new cycle of the Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020

The Group Spatial Planning and Strategy of the Department of Urbanism of the TU Delft  co-organises this workshop in collaboration with partners at Cosmopolis and the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), the European Policies Research Centre (University of Strathclyde) and Prague University of Economics.

Participation is free of charge, but requires registration. For an online registration please click here.

Monday 24 March 2014


Venue: Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Workshop focus

In 2014, a new cycle of the EU regional policy will start. This time the launch of a new programming period is dramatically different from all the previous ones because Europe is enduring the hardest economic crisis since the end of the World War II. This crisis has hit hardly Europe and its regions threatening to halt the process of convergence and spurring the rise of new disparities. The Cohesion Policy has a critical role being the most important investment policy at the EU level and representing a crucial tool to address this crisis. In this context, the EU has further recently developed and reformed the Cohesion Policy to address harder regional challenges.

At the beginning of the new policy cycle 2014-2020, many questions arise regarding the reformed Cohesion Policy. This workshop, hosted jointly by the Institute for European Studies and COSMOPOLIS at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and organized in collaboration with the partner institutions of the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy, will provide a forum for debating them.

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Rob Atkinson

Prof. Atkinson is the Director of Urban Research at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He has published widely on topics such as urban policy, sustainable urban development or urban governance and has been involved in a variety of international research projects and networks. He has also been an expert advisor on urban issues for the European Commission and national governments.

Dr. Jan Olbrycht, MEP

Jan Olbrycht is a Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chairman of the EPP group. He is a renown expert on regional policy, sub-national government and urban development. He was a Vice-Chairman of the Regional Development Committee in 2004-2009. He has founded and currently presides the URBAN parliamentary intergroup. During the negotiations over Cohesion Policy legislative package 2014-2020 he was the European Parliament Rapporteur for the European Regional Development Fund Regulation. In 2007 he won The Parliament Magazine’s MEP Award in the field of ‘regional policy’.


Workshop topics:

1. Appraising the urban dimension of EU Cohesion Policy


What is the role for cities in Europe’s economic development in the current tough economic context? How to assess the existing and new tools for supporting urban development as part of Cohesion Policy? What are the opportunities and challenges for the new EU urban policy?


2. Unpacking the reform of EU Cohesion Policy in a context of economic crisis


How deep is the reform? Which of the changes proposed by the Commission have been eventually adopted, which ones have been discarded and why? To what extent has the current reform of Cohesion Policy been shaped by the economic crisis so far and how can the wider economic context affect this policy in the coming years? Are the new tools in the Cohesion Policy portfolio appropriate for addressing the regional development challenges in crisis? How can the ‘old’ ones be readapted in this new context?


3. Revisiting multi-level governance


What are the challenges for implementation of the reformed Cohesion Policy in the context of multi-level governance? Are conditionalities an appropriate and effective tool for vertical coordination across levels of government? How to ensure effective horizontal coordination and cross-sector policy integration?



Registration and coffee

09:30 – 09:45

Welcome Introduction

Magdalena SAPAŁA (Institute for European Studies, VUB)

Bas VAN HEUR (Cosmopolis, VUB)

John BACHTLER (Univ. of Strathclyde – RSA network)

09:45 – 11:30

Urban dimension in the reformed EU Cohesion Policy

Keynote Speakers

–       Ron ATKINSON, University of West England

–       Jan OLBRYCHT, MEP (EPP)


Peter BERKOWITZ (EU Commission, DG-REGIO)


John BACHTLER (EPRC, University of Strathclyde)


11:30 – 11:45

Coffee break

11:45 – 13:15

Session I
Appraising the urban dimension of Cohesion Policy


Simonetta ARMONDI (Politecnico di Milano)
The Italian urban agenda: a renewed role for cities in the Cohesion Policy setting?

Laura COLINI (IRS Leibniz Institute – Sorbonne Paris IV) and
Darinka CZISCHKE (TU Delft)
Socio-spatial segregation in a post-crisis context in the European Union: Opportunities and Challenges for the Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020

Pontus LINDBERG (Region Skåne) and Tassilo HERRSCHEL (University of Westminster)
Region Skåne: Between Øresund and the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) – Addressing Challenges and Opportunities of Geographic and Functional Peripheralisation


Nicola Francesco DOTTI (Cosmopolis, VUB)

13:15 – 14:00

Buffet lunch

14:00 – 15:30

Session II
Unpacking the reform of Cohesion Policy in a context of economic crisis


Wolfgang PETZOLD (Committee of the Regions)
Legitimacy, efficiency and impact: Lessons learned from the 2013 reform of EU cohesion policy

Simone REINHART (Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament)
The role of the European Parliament in the reform of Cohesion Policy and its contribution to economic, social and territorial cohesion

(DG REGIO, European Commission)
Investment in European Regions during the Economic Crisis


Magdalena SAPAŁA (IES, VUB)

15:30 – 15:45

Coffee break

15:45 – 17:15

Session III
Revisiting multi-level governance


Serafín PAZOS-VIDAL (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities)
The partnership principle in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020: breaking new ground in Multi-Level Governance?

Milana KOROTKA and Nico GROENENDIJK (University of Twente)
The role of monitoring committees in the programming period of Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020

David BAILEY (Aston Business School) and Lisa DE PROPRIS (Birmingham Business School)
EU Cohesion Policy 2014-20: no policy for weak regions?


Marcin DĄBROWSKI (TU Delft)

17:15 – 17:45


Discussion lead by

–       John BACHTLER (EPRC, University of Strathclyde)

–       Bas VAN HEUR (Cosmopolis, VUB)

17:45 – 18:30

Networking drink

Download the programme HERE.

Practical information

  • The workshop will take place at the Institute for European Studies, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels. Map and directions.
  • Lunch, refreshments and beverages will be provided and the participants will be invited for an apero closing the workshop.


The research network

The Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy aims at providing a forum for debating EU cohesion policy, its effectiveness, impacts, paradoxes, and its future. Through the organization of three highly successful international workshops in the course of 2011 and 2012 and of several special sessions at the recent RSA conferences, the Network has succeeded in bringing together academics investigating EU cohesion policy as well as practitioners working with this policy at the EU, national and regional levels. The workshops addressed the key issues structuring the debate on the assessment of the effectiveness and impacts of EU cohesion policy as well as its reform in the run-up to the 2014-2020 period. The Network has created numerous opportunities for inspiring exchanges of ideas, has helped to foster new research collaborations and has led to joint publications.

Drawing on this experience, the Network continues promoting research on EU cohesion policy and fruitful dialogue between academics and practitioners with the aim to contribute to the on-going debates on the effects and the future of this policy. Our main ambition for the coming year is to organize a series of international workshops to be held in Brussels, Prague and Glasgow. The events will encourage an open discussion and understanding between academics specializing in EU cohesion policy, while at the same time engaging with, and learning from, practitioners and policy-makers.



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