The “Study on promoting multi-level governance in support of Europe 2020” aimed at generating lessons from policy experiences and at stimulating the learning and exchange between regions. It has been commissioned by DG REGIO and has been carried out by a consortium led by Spatial Foresight. The study focused on two specific policy fields linked to the Europe 2020 Strategy, namely Energy Efficiency measures with a special focus on the existing building stock and Social Inclusion in urban areas. Four case studies under each policy field served as basis for the mutual learning and exchange process. The mutual learning and exchange process are set in motion with multilateral meetings on the two topics and were elaborated in twinning meetings between the eight case studies and selected partners.


The final report is now available at the Commission's webpage. The final report presents the findings the comparative analysis between the 8 case studies and 16 twinning partners.

To achieve the Europe 2020 targets all levels of governance from local to EU levels need to work on implementing this overacrhing long-term strategy. The implementation of Europe 2020 follows the subsidiarity principle. So actions should be taken as closely to citizen level as possible. However the complexity of the 2020 objective demands cooperation between, levels, sectors and public and private stakeholders. The challenge is to bring the necessary stakeholders together in a policy cycle. Different modes of governance can be at play to bring on board the relevant stakeholders.

Governance processes can change to support the Europe 2020 objectives. However, changing governance arrangements takes time. Governance processes and structures show strong inertia and it takes time to move towards new forms of shared decision-making processes. This final report shows however, different policy experiences and lessons to exchange governance processes between regions. The report answer the questions:

  • Why engage in multi-level governance processes?
  • Who drives or initiates the multi-level governance processes?
  • Which stakeholders should be involved?
  • How to facilitate multi-level governance processes?
  • When should multi-level governance processes be used?
  • What is it all about?
  • How can one learn from the experience of the others?


The European Commission organised a seminar on "Local and regional partners contributing to Europe 2020" in Brussels, Belgium on 5 March 2015. More information can be found on the European Commission's webpage.

The main results of points discussed during the event are presented in the Conference Report.

The aim was to discuss policy experiences and stimulate learning and exchange between cities and regions and therefore aims to be as interactive as possible.

Two panel sessions opened for interesting discussion on governance approaches in the fields of energy efficiency and social inclusion and we would like all participants and speakers for their contributions.

Local and regional partners whom were involved in the study to place in the panels. Furthermoe, the key lessons from the study will be presented and discussed, highlighting examples of multi-level governance processes supporting Europe 2020, as well as the possibilities and challenges when transferring them from one city or region to another. 

The interaction took not only place in the room, but the event was also discussed on twitter and could be folowed via web-streaming.

We encourage to continue the discussion on yammer or on twitter:

@EU_Regional              #RegioMLG


Presentation DG Regio Stockholm - John WalshDG Regio aimed with this study to find ways to transfer good practices and to test possibilities of transfer in a changing multi-level governance context. Context is relevant as good practices are rather difficult to repeat or copy. Furthermore multi-level governance encompasses different forms of cooperation, between levels of government but also between different policy sectors. More information can be found in the presentations given by DG Regio.

The consortium led by Spatial Foresight have organised three kinds of events to facilitate this transfer, learning and exchange between regions.

  • 2 multilateral meetings have been organised. One meeting 26-27 March 2014 in Milan discussing governance arrangements in the field of energy efficiency and one meeting 1-2 April 2014 in Stockholm where governance arrangements regarding Social Inclusion have been discussed.
  • 16 twinning meetings, where partner regions and cities bilaterally exchanged governance experiences and discussed possibilities to transfer these experiences.
  • 1 Final Conference has been organised 5 March 2015 in Brussels.

ENERGY – DE – Prignitz-Oberhavel: New approach to regional energy concepts

Presentation Prignitz Oberhavel

Prignitz-Oberhavel is a region in the German state (Land) of Brandenburg. In Brandenburg the ‘Brandenburg Energy Strategy 2020’ and the follow-up document ‘Brandenburg Energy Concept 2030’ related to the European objective of improved energy efficiency.

The original ‘Brandenburg Energy Strategy 2020’ was developed with a top-down approach and did not really help regional and local players in their work with energy efficiency and renewable energy issues. A more rational approach to energy issues, a planning strategy for renewable energy and funding for the implementation of energy plans was required for more efficient and effective management of energy issues at regional level.

In 2011, a new approach has been introduced to improve the support of regional and local players. The ‘Brandenburg Energy Concept 2030’ was initiated and provided an alternative multi-level governance approach, which paved the way to support regional and local players in their work. This concept has been initiated within the framework of the States’ energy concept by the Brandenburg Ministry of Economic and supported by the Brandenburg Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture, as well as the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment.

In addition there was close communication with the ministries as well as a number of cross-sector working groups, which formed another important link with local authorities and stakeholders. In that sense, a multi-level governance process was initiated. It focused on improved energy planning and actions at Land, regional and local level.

This incremental change in governance arrangements led to more policy effectiveness. Although the initiative came top-down from the Land providing financial incentives, success is based on clear organisational structures and division of responsibilities between the stakeholders, a communication concept taking on board all regional and local stakeholders affected, as well as a transparent process which also tackled difficult discussions.


The multi-level governance approach from Prignitz-Oberhavel have been subject of discussion during bilateral meetings with Epirus (Greece) and Reus (Spain).

Reus is a municipality in the diputacion of Tarragona in the Spanish region of Catalonia. One of the main lessons learned based on the meeting have been the implementation and development of an energy strategy at the regional level. Next steps to enhance multi-level governance in relation to energy efficiency entail;

  • increasing political awareness and ownership for energy issues at regional level.
  • implementing regional energy management.
  • establishing regional coordination of local energy agencies.

Epirus is one of 13 regions in Greece, bordering Albania. Interesting lessons learned based on the discussions during the twinning meeting has been the involvement of local stakeholders and local energy concepts based on realistic local energy data. Proposed actions for the region are in the direction of;

  • establishing energy monitoring.
  • organising a regional energy conference with the participation of local stakeholders.
  • developing a business plan for a zero emission village.


  • Case study report, drafted by Sabine Zillmer (Spatial Foresight).
  • Presentation of Prignitz-Oberhavel held on the multi-lateral meeting in Milan on 26 and 27 March.
  • Overview of the main conclusions of the table discussions during the multi-lateral meeting.
  • Further information on the energy concept of Prignitz Oberhavel as well as the report on the meeting with Reus and the meeting with Epirus are available on the region's website in German.

ENERGY – SI – Vrhnika: New approach to local energy concepts

Vrhnika is a municipality in Slovenia, where the Local Energy Concept (LEK) has been introduced to help implement the National Energy Programme and stimulate a more strategic approach to the management of energy supply and demand at the local level. This is one of the ways in which the Europe 2020 objective, focusing on increased energy efficiency, has been translated into activities at the local level by making use of multi-level governance mechanisms.

presentation VrhnikaThe traditional response to the need of improved energy efficiency and legal obligation resulted in a mismatch between national policies and local needs. Before the LEK was introduced, no measures had been taken to manage energy supply strategically at the local level, something which was seen as a problem for the implementation of national policies. Neither the national level nor the municipalities collected or tracked the energy consumption data that could lead to the promotion of measures in respect of greater energy efficiency or the better use of renewable energy sources at the local level.

Vrhnika began to approach sustainable energy policies systematically in 2008 when preparing its local energy concept. The local energy concept was elaborated in tandem with a wide range of local stakeholders. Politicians played a key role in this. All key political decisions are taken by the mayor and the municipal council. The municipality naturally played the most important role in the implementation of LEK; it motivated stakeholders at the local level

Other involved stakeholders included public sector actors (such as schools), private companies and citizen groups. Although the municipality focused very much on energy efficiency in public buildings, it also encouraged its citizens and companies to consider similar measures in the home and the workplace following the good results achieved by the municipality.

Through working with the local energy concept, the municipality gained useful knowledge and skills with regard to energy efficiency measures. This extends beyond officials working within local administration to local politicians and principals of public institutions. The work also fostered a better appreciation of the need for strategic planning and monitoring as well as for evaluation related to energy efficiency. The local energy concept work enabled a better overview of the key challenges with regard to energy at the local level and helped to achieve sustainable energy savings in public buildings. In so doing, it helped the municipality to gain better control over its spending while, at the same time, reducing its environmental impact.


The multi-level governance approach as applied in Vrhnika have been discussed in twinning meetings with Udine (Italy) and Nea Propontida (Greece).

Nea Propondita is a Greek municipality in the Northern part of the country with good connections to Thessaloniki. Some lessons learned from the meeting have been the use of counselling services to promote energy efficiency measures and the use of schools as channels to dessiminate awareness about energy efficiency. The proposed actions to enhance multi-level governance in the region are in the direction of;

  • establishing a municipal advisory service to inform NGOs, citizens and businesses of the benefits of energy efficiency measures.
  • promoting an energy saving culture to mobilise citizen interaction in responsible energy use and energy efficiency measures.
  • exchanging and comparing methodologies and data with other municipalities, for example Vrhnika.

Udine is a city in Northern Italy, in the province of Udine and autonomous region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Among other element a municipal financed communication raising awareness, the use of local concepts and the inclusion of schools have been identifies as interesting lessons learned for transfer. Next steps to increase multi-level governance entail;

  • the creation of a technical advisory office to promote more energy efficiency measures.
  • a public information campaign on energy efficiency.


  • Case study report prepared by Marko Peterlin, Petra Očkerl and Ana Kosi (iPop).
  • Presentation of the governance approach in Vhrnika held during the multilateral meeting in Milan.
  • Overview of the main conclusions of the table discussions during the multilateral meeting in Milan.

ENERGY – IT – Lombardy: New approach to regional territorial planning in the Alpine Valleys Area

Lombardy is an Italian region and as such is covered by the Italian national energy strategy, which translates the Europe 2020 objectives of energy efficiency into national policies and sets out medium (2020) and long-term (2050) objectives. In addition Lombardy has a regional energy efficiency policy which is one of the most advanced in Italy, especially as concerns the certification of public and private buildings.

presentation LombardyTraditionally there has been unstructured coordination between regional and local authorities and some sectors were ruled in a top-down approach. With the elaboration of a regional territorial plan, the coordination between local and regional levels and different policy sectors improved. The changed response entails different working groups. The elaboration of a regional territorial plan for the Alpine Valley Area brings together the most important stakeholders from various sectors and levels of governance. The PTRA Valli Alpine commenced in 2011 emerging from an initiative of the Directorate General for Land, Planning and Land Defence of the Lombardy Region (Direzione Generale Territorio, Urbanistica e Difesa del Suolo). This intervention was however precipitated by the power of public opinion with local media and NGOs in particular calling for action with the effect of putting the Lombardy Region authorities under pressure.

The process is characterised by the involvement of local stakeholders through the overall process and elaboration of the plan, the political commitment of regional policy actors and a strong evidence base provided by the University of Bergamo. During the stakeholder discussions the visibility of the political commitment played an important role as did the presentation of evidence in the form of maps clearing detailing where certain issues are of particular concern.  

Through this work, local agendas have been changed and it is also believed that the capacity to promote and monitor energy efficiency activities is increased. This also involves a better understanding of local stakeholders and, specifically, the role of their actions in a wider framework.

Thanks to the PTRA, local authorities have experimented with a different way of relating to the regional authority which is no longer characterised by the passive acceptance of new rules and regulations, but instead is driven by the possibility to debate actively and cooperate towards achieving a common political target. The most important change thus far has been in the behaviour of local stakeholders.


Twinning partners: Västerbotten (Sweden) and Bayreuth (Germany). Discussions during the meeting focused on potential actions that could be learned and transfered from the solutions applied by the PTRA. Other interesting questions focuses on concrete governance features applied in the PTRA e.g. the engagement of the university.



  • Case study report prepared by Nicola Brignani (t33).
  • Presentation of Lombardy held during the multilateral meeting in Milan.
  • Overview of the main conclusionss of the table discussions during the multilateral meeting.
  • News articles about the meetings collected by the partners from Bayreuth (in German).
  • News article from the main journal of Bergamo city about the twinning meeting (in Italian).

ENERGY – FR – Alsace: ENERGIVIE cluster

Alsace is a French region in the northeast of France. With the introduction of the ENERGIVIE Programme and Cluster the region supports the French contribution towards achieving the Europe 2020 targets. A special focus in the region has been on increasing the numbers of low-energy buildings. Rising energy prices put an increasing number of households at risk for energy poverty.

table discusion AlsaceThe traditional response to these challenges was mainly based on initiatives of individual stakeholders. This has gradually developed towards the establishment of the ENERGIVIE Programme and Cluster. The ENERGIVIE Programme and Cluster co-exist and run and the same time.

The governance arrangements build on The Alsace regional energy policy may be described as an integrated and coordinated approach, uniting the public (region, departments, agglomerations, regional state representatives), educational (universities, professional education), and private players linked to the energy sector (regional and local energy and construction companies, and their representatives, such as the chamber of commerce).

The ENERGIVIE Programme been developed in the context of the CREA, a regional assembly on energy and air quality of the Alsace, which translated national and international obligation in the Alsace context. This is embedded in the ‘State-Region’ contract, committing the region to programming and multi-year funding of major projects or support for promising niches as energy efficiency. The ENERGIVIE Programme has been the first step towards more integrated and coordinated action in the field of energy.

In 2010, the ENERGIVIE Cluster was initiated as part of the ENERGIVIE Programme to foster and support the emergence of innovative energy products and services in the Alsace region. The establishment of the ENERGIVIE Cluster is an incremental step and can be seen as manifestation of an increased and strengthened participatory approach. The ENERGIVIE Cluster is a logical spin-off of the Programme and focuses more on R&D and new tools and techniques to increase energy efficiency in buildings.

The Alsace ENERGIVIE Cluster as a catalyst. It brings together different legislation, competences, funding, human resources, economic activities and initiatives that help the Alsace energy and climate efforts reach the objectives for 2020 and beyond.

Through the various participatory processes and projects, the Programme and Cluster managed to improve organisational capacity in the region for energy and the possibility to pursue energy policy and regional economic development objectives at the same time.


The multi-level governance approach applied in the Alsace region have been subject of the bilateral meetings with Gelderland (the Netherlands) and Oradea (Romania).

Gelderland is one of 12 provinces in the Netherlands. One of the main interesting elements during the twinning meeting has been the cluster concept as developed in the Alsace. Next steps to enhance multi-level governance to improve energy efficiency in buildings entail;

  • the identification of existing projects which can be part of a potential cluster.
  • create political awareness.
  • examine the feasibility of a European project development e.g. in close cooperation with the stakeholder sin the Alsace.

Oradea is a municipality in Western Romania, close to the Hungarian border. The cluster idea with its participatory approach has been one of the interesting elements as discussed during the meeting. Elements taken back home are in the direction of;

  • securing political support for a potential cluster or international cooperation.
  • identifying potential partners either for a cluster or for the development of a show case building for new innovative energy efficient measures and materials.
  • examing the possibilities for an international cooperation project.


  • Case study report, drafted by Patrick van Egmond (LuxMobility).
  • Presentation on the case study held during the multilateral meeting in Milan 26 and 27 March 2014.
  • An overview of the main conclusions from the table discussion during the multilateral meeting.


The four case studies regarding social inclusion were presented and discussed during a multilateral meeting held 1-2 April 2014 in Stockholm, organised in cooperation with and hosted by Nordregio. The results of the discussions can be found below by clicking on the case study region.

In preparation of the meeting the main governmental aspects of the case studies have been summarised and are compared along the modes of governance, relevant policy sectors, involved public levels and initiation processes. The comparisons form the basis for the table discussions.

First insights from the ESPON study TIPSE on poverty and social exclusion in Europe was presented to stimulate the discussions.

SOCIAL - SE - Stockholm: Urban game as neutral platform for policy coordination

the urban game played

The region of Stockholm in Sweden, as well as the country as such may perform well regarding the national targets on people at risk of poverty.

The Stockholm region has high levels of socioeconomic segregation and the challenges of social inclusion are increasing. Whereas housing segregation is traditionally approached by the municipalities, there is an increasing awareness that it no longer can be dealt with by the single municipalities individually. Indeed, the tight functional integration of various municipalities in the region of Stockholm implies that socioeconomic segregation is both a local and regional challenge.

In this context, the initiative for the Urban Game was a joint undertaking of the main regional agents of the Stockholm region; the Stockholm County Council and the County Administration Board. The game was developed through a process involving a wide range of different experts and drawing on broad evidence based on socioeconomic developments and policies in the Stockholm region.

With development of the Urban Game, the regional level aimed to establish a platform outside existing governance structures, in order to deal with social inclusion issues. The tool is primarily designed to encourage discussions and to increase awareness about interdependences of developments and decisions in various sectors and at various levels of governance. The Urban Game approaches social sustainable development across sectors and governance levels:

  • The Urban Game takes on board the seven decision-making levels which are linked through programmes, plans, projects and directives related to sustainable social development in the region of Stockholm. This ranges from the individual level to the European level.
  • The Urban Game operates across several sectors within sustainable social development, including transport, labour market, urban structure, housing, education, culture and health/welfare.

The Urban Game is a unique tool to clarify and understand how measures implemented at different governance levels and sectors relate to each other, and what measures need to be taken to achieve a sustainable result. The game-character helps opening up for discussions in an informal setting, allows for establishing a neutral environment where different governance levels and sectors can be brought together.

The main result of the Urban Game so far is an increased awareness about the needs and advantages of better cooperation and coordination across governance sectors and levels.


The Urban Game has been played during two twinning meetings with three twinning regions. Lisbon (Portugal), Korydallos (Greece) and Helsinki (Finland) have gained additional insights and discussed the multi-level governance approach as applied in Stockholm.

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, recently changed its organisational structure towards more coordination across different policy sectors. However the experience from Stockholm triggered more discussions. Interesting lessons learned and taken back home are in the direction of;

  • promoting the important impact of cross-sector and integrated structures in the territory, including faciliting participation of public and private sectors.
  • examining the possibilities of a joint project as the issues with Stockholm are similar, e.g. in relation to organisation capacities.

Korydallos is a municipality in the surroundings of Athens. The institutional framework is rather focused on administrative and sectoral division of labour. Applying the urban game to enhance citizen participation has been an interesting lesson learned. Next steps based on the meeting include;

  • promoting cooperation routines and introducing regular shared meetings between different services to improve horizontal and vertical coordination.
  • help creating an association of respresentatives of the local gastronomy sector and retailers to improve citizen participation and improve trust between local administration and the local community and businesses.

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, has similar governance structures as Stockholm. The meeting took place in Helsinki and the Urban Game has been adjusted to the local context by the partners of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The Urban Game was in particular interesting as tool to mobilise and facilitate exchange and discussion in a multi-level governance setting. proposed follow-up actions, based on the meeting are in the direction of;

  • increasing awareness for thinking outside the box in policy implementation, providing information and examples
  • investigating specific issues that benefit from cooperation across sectors and levels and identify the relevant stakeholders.


SOCIAL - PL - Pomorskie: New approach to incubation and implemetation of urban revitalisation

pomorskie pptPomorskie is a region in the North of Poland with a regional ERDF programme addressing urban revitalisation working towards the social inclusion targets of Europe 2020 and the national Polish programme for the revitalisation of cities. In the region, the urban structure and development led to a concentration of social challenges in specific areas, with a strong social and economic segregation.

Traditionally, social exclusion challenges were addressed by the municipalities, often using uncoordinated measures carried out by different entities. However, the challenges are too complex to be tackled solely via uncoordinated action in individual sectors. Making use of the OP, Pomorskie has set out a new way towards a more consolidated approach to social inclusion, by regionally identifying and negotiating projects on urban revitalisation and social inclusion.

To allow more ‘soft’ measures as training and educations in combination with ‘hard’ infrastructural measures the a combination with the OP Human Capital has been made. This new approach entails three main elements with different implications at regional and local level: (1) identification of projects; (2) implementation of projects; and (3) changed implementation routines.

At the level of the ROP, the identification of revitalisation projects was based on an objective analysis of social situations in different cities in the region. Furthermore, the selection procedure focused on cooperation between different local institutions and structures, rather than on individual competing project applications. The procedure allowed the incubation of the projects, balancing infrastructure and social aspects. In doing so, the ROP tried to focus on selected result oriented actions and balance local and regional needs.

At the local (project) level, the ROP imposed participatory approach to social inclusion projects. One obligation from the ROP was that municipalities, when preparing a revitalisation project, must engage and define in advance the partners to be involved and their exact roles in the proposed actions. This approach has resulted in the revitalisation projects being oriented towards the needs and expectations of the local communities and citizens. Furthermore, it has also brought together various local policies, i.e. infrastructure, housing, social welfare and the labour market, and through this has contributed to strengthening social inclusion in an integrated manner.

As a result – besides the actual revitalisation results – the revitalisation projects helped empowering local stakeholders, and involved them in functional social dialogue.


The urban revitalisation approach for social inclusion has been subject of bilateral meetings between the region of Pomorskie and Reus (Spain) and Norte (Portugal).

Reus is a municipality in the diputacion of Tarragona in the Spanish region of Catalonia. Among other point of discussion the multi-level governance approach of Pomorskie based on cooperation in revitalisation projects, creating synergies, and the role of the regional level as moderator have been identified as interesting points. Based on these point the actions taken back home are in the direction of;

  • investigating ongoing projects regarding urban revitalisation and involve both the cities of Reus and Tarragona.
  • organise a joint meeting to discuss common challanges e.g. a place-based dialogue between Reus and Tarragona.
  • find out criteria and procedure for distributing EU funds.

Norte is a region in Northern Portugal. Lesson learned based on the discussion with representatives of the Pomorskie regions include the use of a combination of different financial sources such as ERDF, Horizon 2020, URBACT and the integration of a social dimension into the preparation process for the regional plan. Next steps to enhance multi-level governance in relation to social inclusion entail;

  • investigating cross-sector cooperation within regional development projects.
  • making sure that project sustain after the project duration by examining local circumstances and possibilities
  • increase to stakeholder involvement, making sure that the projects are 'locally rooted'


  • Case study report, drafted Jazek Zaucha, Adam Mikolajzyk, Malgorzata Sobolew and Bartosz Kozicki.
  • Presentation of Pomorskie held during the multilateral meeting in Stockholm 1 and 2 April.
  • Overview of the main conclusions of the table discussions during the multi-lateral meeting.
  • First results of the twinning meeting by the city of Reus.
  • Presentation by the Norte region on social inclusion in their region.

SOCIAL - RO - Timisoara: New approach to integrate non-EU migrants

Timișoara is a city in Romania, where including non EU-migrants is one dimension of the Europe 2020 objective addressed with regard to inclusive growth and social inclusion. Generally, the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy is one of the challenges for Romania’s public administration. A difficulty in this context is including non-EU citizens, following the European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals.

The traditional approach in this field was characterised a lack of priority setting, ad-hoc decisions, limited inter-ministerial coordination and limited policy planning capacity. In short, the main focus was on top-down management approaches of the central government and bi-directional communication with involved stakeholders. The process can be described as bilateral dialogues between migrants associations and NGOs; public administration and NGOs; and migrants associations and public administration, as shown in the graphic under the traditional response.

In this context, approximately 3,000 non-EU migrants in Timișoara faced an almost unapproachable administrative and legal system, which made it difficult to resolve integration and inclusion matters in a proactive manner.

The governance structures have however changed to cope with increasing numbers of non-EU migrants in the region. The project Migrant in Intercultural Romania (MiIR), initiated by the Intercultural Institute of Timișoara (IIT), worked towards a trilateral consultation mechanism between migrant communities, civil society and public administration, shown in the figure under changed response in the graphic. In short, the main cornerstones of this new approach are:

  • local working groups bringing together local stakeholders to solve local challenges by using local resources and administrative tools;
  • national thematic working groups focusing on policy and legal solutions, which require interventions at national level;
  • intercultural mediators facilitating communication and cooperation between all players, considering each individual community or cultural context, therefore they are at the centre in the figure shown in the graph below, the different ways of communication is shown between the actors.

The MiIR project recorded significant successes in terms of consultation and practical local interventions. Local representatives of the ministries and governments, like the prefecture, local immigration offices or country education inspectors, have managed to implement measures that were deemed necessary during local consultations.

The role of NGOs has in this case been crucial, because they took the initiative towards better inclusion of non-EU migration in the Romanian society and developed and implemented a new governance structure. Effective communication channels to disseminate knowledge and results and to promote the players and their activity are crucial. Furthermore, it is important to stimulate and motivate voluntary actions and ensure involvement and participation, building trust and encouraging complementary actions between players.



SOCIAL - UK - Liverpool: New approach enterpreneurship for supporting social inclusion

liverpool pptLiverpool is a city-region in the UK with some of the “worst” pockets of deprivation and considerable social exclusion challenges. Locally an approach has been adopted, which focuses upon encouraging entrepreneurship using ERDF funding as a means of promoting social inclusion. This approach involves a range of private, public and third sector actors working together to engage citizens in the most deprived areas of the Liverpool city-region to help them develop their own businesses.

The key premise of the idea to encourage (social) entrepreneurship is that there are considerable economic benefits to promoting social inclusion at the local level. This approach differs somewhat from the more conventional approaches tackling social inclusion, which deal rather more with the effects of deprivation, unemployment etc. than encouraging entrepreneurship amongst the hardest to reach groups in society, in the poorest urban areas.

The approach to tackle social exclusion via encouraging entrepreneurship, including the creation of social enterprises, in the Liverpool city-region operates in a governance context which has changed substantially since 2008 and the beginning of the economic ‘crisis’ in the UK. Public funding has been reduced and the regional tier has been abolished, changing the sub-national structures in the UK. This involved the closure of the west RDA (NWDA) in 2010. The NWDA was responsible for a wide range of activities relating to business support and economic development, including managing European Regional Development Funds for the Liverpool city-region.

In the same year as the NWDA was disbanded, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the Liverpool city-region was created. The LEP is a voluntary membership organisation, involving over 450 partners including both large and small firms based in the city-region. The LEP took over some of the tasks of the NWDA, however, with a lower budget and less staff. The main tool the LEP has at its disposal is to encourage partnership and co-operation between all relevant stakeholders in the Liverpool city-region.

One response to the changed economic and governance context, was to achieve economies of scale in encouraging social entrepreneurship. Accordingly, the focus shifted towards the cooperation of various stakeholders on a large business support project, rather than a larger number of smaller projects.


The governance approach of the Liverpool-city region to address social inclusion by encouring social entrepreneurship was discussed in twinning meeting with Linares (Spain), Vidzeme (Latvia) and Mazovia (Poland).

Linares is a city in de province of Jaén in Andalusia, Spain. The approach to address social inclusion in Liverpool has been an interesting point of discussion during the meeing. Lesson learned entail, for example, the inclusion of local partnerships. Elements that have been taken home are in the direction of;

  • examining a joint project with stakeholders from the Liverpool city region, including the opportunity of European funding.
  • start a broader discussion how the concept of social entrepreneurship can be translated to an approach for Linares, including the selection of main stakeholders.

Vidzeme is one of five planning regions in Latvia. The discussions during the meeting focused inter alia on the local economic framework based on the role of LEP and stakeholders,the use of ERDF to establish business support focused on tackling social inclusion adn practical examples of functioning social enterprises in the Liverpool city region. Proposed actions in the region are in the direction of;

  • contacting municipalities and other stakeholders, particularly those in the private sector.
  • establishing a partnership with Liverpool's LEP to exchange information and also explore future EU project development opportunities.

Mazovia is a Polish region including the nation's capital. Intersting points for this region based on the discussion are, for example, the development of social value in communities and business to foster bottom-up change and better coordination between enterprises and universities using incubators. Elements taken back home entail;

  • examining different potential models for cooperation.
  • discusions with stakeholders about new financial situations, as EU funding migh not last forever.
  • further develop the duties of Mazovian Territorial Forum, serving as a forum for consultations and could be used for coordination between regional and local authorities across the region.


  • Case study report prepared by Benito Giordano.
  • Presentation of the Liverpool city region held during the multilateral meeting in Stockholm.
  • Overview of the main conclusion of the table discussion during the multilateral meeting.
  • Presentation of Linares as preparation of the twinning meeting.


The meetings have shown a variaty of multi-level governance approaches (and changes in governance) influencing and supporting the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy as well as possibilities to transfer governance processes between regions and cities in Europe. 

Not every element determining successful governance arrangements in support of Europe 2020 is transferable. Many elements of multi-level governance mechnanisms at place are depending on specific institutional settings and other contextual factors. The multilateral meetings included a presentation on transferability.

The discussion during the meetings have show that the transferability of good practices should be:

  • mutual, i.e. resulting from an actual dialogue between the sender and the receiver of this knowledge;
  • concrete, i.e. focusing on practices that can actually be concretely changed or influenced at the receiver’s end;
  • incremental, as new practices need to be embedded to  current practices and future prospects;
  • context-specific, i.e. if a certain degree similarity exists with regards to the geographical, socio-economic and institutional preconditions of participating regions;
  • critically undertaken, as even the most obvious success story can never be fully transposed elsewhere as such;
  • realistic, as some good practices may, in theory, have a high impact, but are actually difficultly applicable outside of their home context;
  • durable, i.e. no magic solution or quick fixes will foster long-term changes of attitude and have long-standing impacts.


The deliveries of the study to DG Regio are published on the inforegio webpage by the European Commission:


The Europe 2020 Strategy is under revision at the moment. The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Europe 2020 Strategy. The consultation aims at informing the review the Strategy seeking views on its further development. The consultation is open until 31 October.

Spatial Foresight has published ots contribution to the public cpnsultation of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The Spatial Foresight Brief 2014:4 on key points for future approaches to overacrhing European strategies can be downloaded.

Furthermore has the Committee of the Regions (CoR) performed a mid-term assessment on the Europe 2020 Strategy, “A Territorial Vision for Growth and Jobs". The CoR argues that the renewed Europe 2020 Strategy should, inter alia, make multi-level governance the standard approach. More information about this declaration can be found here.  

The Committee of the Regions has kindly reflected on the work done in this study commissioned by DG Regio. Representatives of the CoR have attended both multilateral meetings. According to CoR good governance equals multi-level governance. As follow-up of the 2009 White Paper CoR created a scoreboard to monitor the development of multi-level governance in the EU.

More information on the activities by the Committee of the Regions on Europe 2020 can be found here.



Please contact Kai Böhme or Frank Holstein for questions on the study or the twinning meetings.