New prospects for regional/spatial planning policy in Greater Europe. - Council of Europe. Committee of Ministers, Ministers' Deputies - Decision 690/9.2 (December 1999)

690th meeting - 1 December 1999


Item 9.2



CLRAE Recommendation 41 (1998)

(CM/Del/Dec(98)641/9.3, (99)685/12.2)


The Deputies adopted the following reply to CLRAE Recommendation 41 (1998) on the "New prospects for regional/spatial planning policy in greater Europe":

"The Committee of Ministers has examined with interest CLRAE Recommendation 41 (1998) on the "New prospects for regional/spatial planning policy in greater Europe". It shares the opinion of the Congress that the European Regional Planning Strategy requires updating and extension to all Council of Europe member states so as to open up new prospects for regional and national spatial planning policies and, more generally, for the territorial cohesion of European space as a whole.

In this respect the Committee of Ministers notes with satisfaction that considerable progress has been made in the preparation, by the relevant Committee of Senior Officials, of the "Guiding principles for sustainable spatial development of the European Continent", to be submitted to the forthcoming Conference of European Ministers responsible for Regional Planning (CEMAT) which will be held in Hanover in September 2000.

As for the integration of the CEMAT Committee of Senior Officials into the system of Steering Committees of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers without taking a stand on the follow-up of this proposal by the Congress, will bear it in mind, especially in the light of the results of the Hanover Conference.

The Recommendation touches upon environmentally responsible development, urban problems and economic and social cohesion. The Committee of Ministers recalls that the preamble of the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities refers to the importance of co-operation in the field of regional, urban and rural development, environmental protection and the improvement of public facilities.

Several Euro-regions, working communities or transfrontier bodies have been established at regional and local level and deal with transfrontier aspects of regional planning. A European Conference on Transfrontier Co-operation was held on 15 and 16 April 1999 in Sarospatak (Hungary) with the participation of several Euro-regions, including countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The 7th European Conference of Border Regions held in Timisoara (Romania) from 28-30 October 1999 also addressed these questions.

A study has been recently prepared by the Select Committee of experts on Transfrontier Co-operation on "Managing old and new frontiers of Europe: Transfrontier co-operation in regional/spatial planning, local border traffic and impact assessments". The survey reveals that throughout Europe there is a variety of structures established, including intergovernmental regional planning commissions, to co-ordinate regional planning across the border.

The Committee of Ministers is still examining the possibility of launching a programme of technical assistance in the field of regional/spatial planning and nature protection of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe footnote 1 but has not yet reached any conclusions. Future decisions will have to take into account the arguments presented in the Recommendation and the outcome of the Hanover Conference as well as priorities and financial possibilities of the Council of Europe.

It should also be noted that the Council of Europe and the European Union are working in close co-operation on the European spatial development perspective (ESDP) approved by the European Union. The preparation of the "Guiding principles for sustainable development of the European continent" is under way."

1    It is recalled that the Deputies adopted Decision 6 at their 641st meeting (15 and 18 September 1998, item 9.3) which reads as follows:

[The Deputies]

"...asked their Rapporteur Group on Democratic Stability in Europe (GR-EDS) ... to study the possibility of launching a regional/spatial planning assistance programme for countries of Central and Eastern Europe if there is a request on their part, in co-operation with the CEMAT and the CLRAE, and in co-ordination with the implementation of the Interreg II C initiative, PHARE, and TACIS programmes of the European Commission ..."