Throughout the 1990s, there has been a growing realisation that the general processes of European integration, and more specifically, many of the policies and programmes of the European Union, are having significant effects on spatial development. As a consequence such initiatives are inevitably impacting upon the spatial planning systems and policies of the fifteen member states (see for example, Davies et al 1994, Shaw et al, 1996; Williams, 1996; Wilkinson, Bishop and Tewdr-Jones, 1998). European Union policy initiatives such as regional policy, transport, environment, and agriculture all have important spatial objectives and impacts. In acknowledgement of this analysis, support has steadily grown for a more spatially co-ordinated approach towards EU policy and funding particularly at the supranational level, and more locally for greater collaboration between member states and regions in the preparation of plans and policies. Directorate General XVI (Regional Policy and Cohesion) has been encouraging this by focusing attention on both the scope for, and potential of, developing a European-wide and transnational spatial development framework. Two key documents Europe 2000 (CEC, 1991) and Europe 2000+ (CEC, 1994) have been instrumental in pursuing this agenda. The publication of the draft European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) in June 1997 provided the catalyst for further debate and action. The ESDP has been subjected to wide ranging consultation and debate and the final document was presented to the Informal meeting of Ministers of Spatial Planning at Potsdam in May 1999. The result is that European transnational spatial planning - the joint elaboration and coR ordination of spatial planning policy and action across national boundaries - has been evolving rapidly.