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ESPON for Nordic Regions

ESPON for Nordic Regions: Breaking down selected results from the ESPON programme for the use in a Nordic regional context. Stockholm 2007. Nordregio Working Paper 2007:4

Over the past decade EU regional policies have become ever more central to the formulation of regional policies in the Nordic countries. This is so even for regional development policy in Norway and Iceland, as both countries are party to the EEA agreement, which addresses a variety of issues tied to the processes of Europeanization and globalization that shape the development context of their regions. Strong influences on regional policy can also be derived from the re-launched Lisbon Agenda, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

As such, the demand for comparable territorial data placing Nordic regional structures and development trends in a wider European context has increased significantly among Nordic regional policy makers. With the emergence of the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON), established within the context of the EU Structural Funds under the Community Initiative INTERREG III, the body of knowledge concerning European territorial structures, development trends and perspectives, as well as policy impacts has thus increased substantially. After the completion of phase one of ESPON (2002-2006), the programme is now embarking upon its second period of development (2007-2013).

This report has been commissioned and financed by the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Regional Policy (EK-R) in order to further capitalise on the results of ESPON 2006 for Nordic regions and to examine Nordic needs in the upcoming ESPON 2013 programme. This includes the extraction of ESPON content relevant within a Nordic regional development context and a territorial breakdown of selected quantitative results to better fit the Nordic regional decision making level.