chapter  7
18 Pages


Communities at Luxembourg and can be found on the website So, knowing that this is problematic, I still refer to the ESDP as ‘CEC 1999’. The document comes in two parts, Part A is on policy and Part B on analysis. Part A is less than fifty pages in English, quite an achievement given the gestation period of, depending on when one posits the process to have started, six to ten years. This part owes much to the European planning programme discussed in previous chapters of this book. Part B reflects the state of knowledge and topics of the late-1990s and has been superseded by work since, amongst others in the framework of ESPON. The title of Part A, the only one I discuss, is ‘Achieving the Balanced and Sustainable Development of the Territory of the EU: The Contribution of the Spatial Development Policy’. Chapter 1 identifies territory as a new dimension of European policy and specifies the goal as balanced and sustainable spatial development, reconciling social and economic claims on land with ecological and cultural functions. The ESDP thus comes down on the side of planning fulfilling an umpire role, an old idea. Chapter 2 deals with the Community policies with an impact on the territory of the EU. They are the Structural Funds promoting economic and social cohesion, the TENs and environmental policy. In addition the chapter lists competition policy, the Common Agricultural Policy, research and technological development and the loan activities of the European Investment Bank. Since then, there has been more research by, or on behalf of, the Commission on the spatial impacts of Community policies (Commission Services 1999; Robert et al., 2001). ESPON continues to explore the issues. The chapter makes a case also for improving the ‘spatial coherence’ of these Community policies, a point central to my understanding of its message. Chapter 3 presents policy aims and options for the territory of the EU grouped under ‘Polycentric spatial development and a new urban-rural partnership’; ‘Parity of access to infrastructure and knowledge’; ‘Wise management of the natural and cultural heritage’, which is where the ESDP draws on the European planning programme of previous decades. Under each of these headings, several topics are discussed and there are altogether sixty ‘policy options’, a mixed bag reflecting predilections of various Member States. Chapter 4 is on the application of the ESDP on various levels. This has been the object of various follow-ups, beginning with the Tampere Action Programme adopted only months after the ESDP. The notion of the ESDP being ‘applied’ rather than implemented is significant but this belongs to the discussion of the impact of the ESDP in Chapter 8 of this book. Chapter 5 is about the enlargement of the EU and has been out of date as soon as the ESDP came out. Amongst others to take account of these developments, the makers of the ESDP wanted it to be revised. To the present day, planners from the new members concur but this has never come to pass. In any case, that

there should have been an ESDP is remarkable. Even at national level, planning is not universally practised, nor is there agreement on its mode of operation.