Geographic Specificities and Development Potentials in Europe (GEOSPECS)

Regions with specific territorial features have recently received increasing attention in EU policy.

The in 2009 ratified Lisbon Treaty specifically mentions that ‘particular attention shall be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps such as the northernmost regions with very low population density and island, cross-border and mountain regions.

The aim of territorial cohesion for the European cooperation is seen in the context of the increasing interest by policy makers in a territorial approach with deeper horizontal policy integration which has emerged little by little over last decades.

The objective of the project is to provide a coherent transversal framework to characterize the past trends, state and potential future developments of geographical specificities in mountainous, insular, coastal, sparsely populated, inner peripheries, borders and outermost areas for European territorial policy and regional development, and facilitate the integration of their commonalities in European territorial cohesion strategies.


The Geographic Specificities and Development Potentials in Europe (GEOSPECS) project has three work packages:

  1. Coordination,
  2. Research Activity
  3. Dissemination


The result of this project on European level is a contribution to the policies for regional development as an inherent part of the Lisbon Treaty, with the aim of facilitating economic, social and territorial cohesion.

On national level the result is a scientific base for the current economic development policy , oriented towards strengthening regions with potential

The results of the research on inner peripheries as geographically peripheral areas functioning as central area would be relevant as well in the Dutch context for Gelderland/Overijssel.