EU territories are experiencing unprecedented changes as economic integration gradually transforms spatial economies in Europe. Owing to national specificities, these spatial effects have been uneven. In this context, regional interlinkages and interdependencies are becoming key aspects in the design of place-based development strategies. However, the limited availability of interregional data at European level hampers their use in the definition of the new European policy initiatives and the design of measures that reduce barriers to and facilitate economic interactions at all levels.
The applied research project 'Interregional Relations in Europe' (IRiE), promoted and financed by ESPON is pushing the frontiers of knowledge of the interregional flows in Europe. The project, which reached its midpoint last May, aims to establish a European model for the analysis of interregional economic flows to improve territorial cohesion policies. The general objective of the project is to analyse interregional flows of goods, services, people, capital and knowledge in the 27 EU Member States and in all regions of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.
" regional interlinkages and interdependencies are becoming key aspects in the design of place-based development stRategies "
To achieve this, top-level organisations from six European countries are working together under the leadership of the Navarra Territory and Sustainability Agency? Lursarea, in association with public company Nasuvinsa: Centro de Predicción Económica (CEPREDE), Spain; Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences (IGSO PAS), Poland; Spiekermann & Wegener, Stadt - und Regionalforschung (S&W), Germ any; Delft University of Technology (TUDelft ), the Netherlands; University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Finland; and University of Thessaly (UTH) Research Committee, Greece. This consortium is using innovative methods to overcome data limitations on interregional linkages and flows, providing concrete and systemic pictures of regional interactions and useful insights that can be used to support regional strategies.
During the first phase of the project, the work focused on the development of a firm methodology that ensured the coherence and robustness of the interregional data obtained. These data constitute the basis of the next phases, which involve the creation of typologies at the pan-European scale, the analysis of potential crisis scenarios and an in-depth evaluation of policy options. Moreover, having reached a good degree of maturity, and with the aim of guiding and m axim ising the work of the coming months, the project relies on support from a strategic advisory group as well as periodic meetings with stakeholders.
In search of innovation, IRiE is also carrying out several innovative analyses designed to reinforce the structural data produced and the new territorial evidence found. Some of these novel works will be presented during the European Week of Regions and Cities as case studies during the session entitled 'Interregional relations in Europe: Will the pandemic result in deeper interdependencies or in increased divergence between regions?'
So if you are interested in knowing more about the project and its promising results, do not miss our workshop on 12 October.
Sheila Izquieta-Rojano (PhD), Project Specialist, and Xabier Velasco Echeverria, Head of the Territorial Observatory of
Navarre (Nasuvinsa-Lursarea) and Project Coordinator