I. Political Aims in Amending the Treaty

In preparing for the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference to revise the Maastricht Treaty, one of the issues for debate is that of coordinating the myriad legal instruments and policy areas which have a bearing on regional development (e.g. agricultural, regional, social, environmental and transport policies) with regard to their effects on regional planning policy and on the regions. Other ones are aiming at making instruments and policies more comprehensible and accessible to the general public, and of working towards increased cooperation among Member States in the development of the Europe Union's territory. In the broadest sense, the task is that of setting out in the Treaty regional planning policy issues which have to some extent long formed part of the practice of the various relevant departments of the EC. The actions of the EC Commission must be made to be both more consistent and more transparent. One very specific requirement will be to formulate general orientations for spatial development in Europe which are capable of finding a consensus, and of developing suitable procedures for coordination which-in accordance with the subsidiarity principle-reinforce the independent local initiatives of the regions of Europe and promote the cohesion of the EU.

The main aims being pursued in revising the Maastricht Treaty are to foster economic and social cohesion within the Union, to strengthen democracy and transparency, to create a better balance between institutions, to bring them into closer contact with the people and to improve the ability of the EU to act both inwardly and outwardly. Among the major concerns are those of increasing the scope for citizens, communes and regions to exert an influence, increasing the EU's efficiency by means of institutional reforms and creating the preconditions for bringing about the desired enlargement of the EU by the accession of the states of Eastern and Central Europe.

Hitherto the field of regional planning has been addressed unsatisfactorily in the Maastricht Treaty, namely solely from the point of view of environmental protection (Art. 130s). Spatial development in the EU is, however, also influenced by a considerable number of measures and decisions with their origins in other areas, in particular the granting of subsidies from EU funds and the improvement of TENs (Trans-European Networks).

These effects need to be aligned with guidelines for spatial development in the EU which are capable of guaranteeing coordinated action by the various organs of the EU, whilst at the same time preventing mutual interference. Such a spatial development policy for the EU relates to the inter-regional spatial structure of the Union territory. It needs to be based on the objectives for spatial development formulated by the Member States and by regions.

Codifying spatial development policy within the Treaty will make it easier to achieve many of the political objectives. At the same time, this approach will take better account of current practice. The creation of a solid foundation in law for spatial development policy within the Treaty as a "policy which requires consideration" must not, however, be allowed to be accompanied by a diminution of national powers, which ould be in conflict with the principle of subsidiarity.

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