Coordination of territorial cohesion by European territorial cooperation and trans-European transport networks – the case of cross-border transport

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Territorial cohesion aims at fostering a more balanced and harmonious development of the European regions, making use of individual regional strengths for an overall EU benefit and linking them effectively to ensure a higher territorial integration of the Member States among others. Furthermore, cooperation across administrative borders is to be promoted actively (Commission of the European Communities 2008). The two policies European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) and Trans-European Transport Networks (TENT) are intended to contribute to several aspects of territorial cohesion: the ETC Policy focuses on the support of European border regions, contributing to a European integrated territorial development and promoting the exchange of experiences across borders (European Union 2006). Therewith, the effects of the administrative borders shall be minimized and territorial cohesion shall be increased (European Commission 2005). The TEN-T Policy shall efficiently link the national transport networks of the Member States and make them interoperable in order to contribute to a borderless European territory. Additionally, remote regions are to be integrated to the residual territory (European Union 2012), bottlenecks in the European transport system are to be removed and missing-links to be constructed (European Parliament and Council of the European Union 2013d). Thus the two policies can be seen as promoters of territorial cohesion. The aim of this paper is to analyse the contribution of the two above named policies to an important element of territorial cohesion: cross-border transport connections including infrastructures and services. The findings are based on field research in the cross-border region Greater Region Saar-Lor-Lux+. After a description of the objectives of the TEN-T and ETC policies and their related funds in a first step, the influence of the policies is analysed. This is done by comparing the original EU objectives with the involved Member States’ national transport policies, the regional and sub-regional policies and the crossborder policy documents. Additionally, the implementation of these objectives in the form of projects in the cross-border regional transport reality is evaluated. Finally the contribution of the two policies to territorial cohesion is evaluated.
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