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

24 Mar 2014 09:00
24 Mar 2014 18:30




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 some of the most salient and burning of those questions.

Keynote speakers:

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 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 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: coordination and conditionality

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?

Workshop programme

09:00-09:30 Registration and coffee
09:30-09:45 Welcome introduction
  • Magdalena Sapala, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Bas Van Heur, Cosmopolis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Laura Polverari, University of Strathclyde, RSA Network
09:45-11:30 Urban dimension in the reformed EU Cohesion Policy

Keynote speakers:

  • Rob Atkinson, University of the West England
  • Jan Olbrycht, Member of the European Parliament, EPP

Discussant: Peter Berkowitz, European Commission, DG REGIO
Chair: Laura Polverari, EPRC, University of Stratclyde

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

Chair: 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
  • Angel Catalina-Rubianes and Rocco L. Bubbico (DG REGIO, European Commission): Investment in European Regions during the Economic Crisis

Chair: Magdalena Sapala(Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

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

Chair: Marcin Dąbrowski, TU Delft

17:15-17:45 Conclusions
  • Laura Polverari, EPRC, University of Stratclyde
  • Bas Van Heur, Cosmopolis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
17:45-18:30 Networking drink


Practical information

  • Participation in the event is free of charge, but registration is required. Please register here.
  • 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.
  • Thanks to the financial support from the RSA we will be able to offer several travel bursaries for the speakers attending the workshop. Bursaries will be offered on a ‘first come, first served basis.’ If you wish to apply for a bursary or if you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Marcin Dąbrowski. Please note that bursaries can only be offered to participants who are members of the RSA and fulfill one of the following eligibility criteria: – are student or early career members of RSA, – are associate (retired) members of RSA, – are RSA member working in a Band B, C or D country.
  • For any other inquiries please contact the local organizers of the workshop, Nicola Francesco Dotti or Magdalena Sapała.


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.

Network co-organizers:

Dr. Marcin DĄBROWSKI, Department of Urbanism, TU Delft
Prof. John BACHTLER, EPRC, University of Strathclyde
Dr. Oto POTLUKA, University of Economics Prague
Dr. Magdalena SAPAŁA, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Dr. Nicola Francesco DOTTI, COSMOPOLIS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel