KREMER - the Territorial Thinkers' Blog
KREMER is a blog where friends of territorial thinking publish short opinions, ideas, recommendations and optioning thoughts on European, national, regional and local policy development with a territorial dimension. The KREMER blog wants to stimulate debate and promote innovative and cooperative dynamics which can be captured and used positively to achieve European policy objectives.
KREMER refers to Gerard de Kremer, a Flemish cartographer, geographer and cosmographer, better known as Mercator for creating the 1569 world map based on a new projection.
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Reflections on an incoming major policy shift in Europe
by Kai Böhme
In January 2020, the European Commission presented its proposal for the European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Mechanism. Many details of which will be further developed and polished in the near future.
Still, the proposal is remarkable from a territorial point of view.It fuels some optimism that the need for territorial thinking finally has hit home in European policies. The current proposal gives hope, that we will have an overarching policy, that is highly place-sensitive, rather anticipatory to local and regional development challenges, supports an integrated governance and acknowledges the importance of territorial development plans and the interdependencies between places. If all this territorial thinking is followed through, the transition of Europe to a thriving carbon-neutral society and prosperous economy might actually work out.
A guest contribution by Kaisa Lähteenmäki-Smith
As Finland contemplates its future development in light of its declining birth-rate, ageing population and low immigration, questions reverberate around future perspectives and aspirations in respect of the ability of public policy to impact these developments. The shrinking workforce and the growing number of retired people provide a potentially significant challenge. To promote a positive message in the circumstances of negative messages being the norm takes courage. Tytti Määttä, Mayor of Kuhmo, a municipality on the Finnish-Russian border, and Finland's most influential spokesperson for rural areas, recently published an excellent column "Vitality to the countryside with a five-point programme". With Tytti’s permission, I will paraphrase and build on her points here (relating to the rural areas) and consider them in the broader perspective of the good life in shrinking regions. I think they provide excellent reminders and positive encouragement and motivation for us all, whether speaking of Finland, or anywhere else.
While the economic leaders discussed globalisation 4.0 at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, we might actually see that globalisation has peaked. In the issue of 26th of January 2019, the Economist outlined that globalisation slows down markedly, and that we might enter a period of ‘slowbalisation’ with lesser global integration. In short, ‘slowbalisation’ is expected to be a shift towards geo-regional blocs (e.g. Asia, North-America, Europe), with deeper intra-regional links and shorter supply chains.
While the world is turning and rapidly growing ever more interdependent, European political leaders are engaged in discussions leading to break-up (Brexit) and less commitment to European unity (in particular Hungary, Poland and Italy). Some leaders, like president Macron in France, try to pull in the opposite direction by advocating a revival of the European cooperation. The size and influence of the EU in the world should in fact in times of globalisation lead everyone to opt for a strong and united EU.
One policy area has hitherto slipped the attention of EU leaders, this despite (nearly) all policies and activities have a territorial impact. They take place somewhere, changes the space and the place specific conditions for people and enterprises.