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Metropolitan Governance

Governance in EU metropolitan areas: the role of Cohesion Policy

As part of our involvement in decentralised cooperation projects, Metropolis is acting as an observer in the ESPON METRO research project, “The role and future perspectives of Cohesion Policy in the planning of Metropolitan Areas and Cities”, which is co-financed by the EU European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The main objective of the project, which got underway last October, is to investigate governance in EU metropolitan areas in relation with EU Cohesion Policy.

Based on case studies of 9 European metropolises, ESPON METRO analyses and compares the role of EU Cohesion Policy in the process of planning and implementing metropolitan policies, addressing experiences and best practice as well as the impact of policies on stakeholder cities (including several Metropolis members: Torino, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, Brussels, Grand Lyon and Lisbon).

The research aims to understand how EU Cohesion Policy goals can be integrated in the planning and implementation of policies at a metropolitan and city scale, by conducting research on new governance solutions for metropolitan areas and cities under the framework of post-2020 Cohesion Policy. At the same time, it seeks to understand how the Cohesion Policy can help achieve socio-economic and regional goals at a metropolitan and city level, and contribute to better cooperation and governance dynamics at a metropolitan scale.

The project will also examine how Cohesion Policy can reduce regional disparities within cities and metropolitan areas by developing area-based approaches and integrated territorial strategies. It will be crucially important to link strategic planning at a city and metropolitan level to Cohesion Policy funds and instruments at a regional, national and EU level.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that comparative analysis will be carried out on the roles, institutional contexts, capabilities and perspectives of the nine stakeholders, under the framework of programming and implementing Cohesion Policy. This research will take into account both the national context and the level of participation of urban and metropolitan bodies in planning and managing European Structural and Investment Funds.

In the Inception report, the authors of the study outline previous work carried out by Metropolis on metropolitan governance, establishing some of the data on the Metropolitan Indicators, or using the results of different policy briefs in the Emergency Governance Initiative to emphasise the role of metropolitan areas in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The final results of this study are due in October 2021 and will be published on Metropolis communication channels.


For more information on Metropolis Decentralised Cooperation projects, please contact Guillaume Berret at the Metropolis Secretariat General: