1973 – 1981: First and second enlargements of the EU – inclusion of Ireland and Greece raised awareness of regional differences in environmental and economic conditions;
1975: Establishment of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with aim of correcting regional imabalances;
1983: European Regional Planning Charter (Torremolinos Charter) published by Council of Europe Ministers Responsible for Regional/Spatial Planning (CEMAT), the first major joint international statement on European spatial planning;
1986-1996: Jacques Delors Presidency of the European Commission: promoted a balance between market, state and society to ensure economic growth is combined with social cohesion and high levels of social welfare – later termed the ‘European model of society’, strong focus on European integration;
1992: Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty) strengthened commitment to principle of cohesion alongside economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability, required more adherance to subsidiarity principle;
1994: Publication of Europe 2000+: Cooperation for European Territorial Development by the European Commission, included a clear statement on priority areas for future policy including urban sprawl, rural areas in transition, areas of environmental importance and regeneration of poor neighbourhoods;
1997: Amsterdam Treaty, introduced concept of ‘territorial cohesion’, adopted sustainable development as a core objective of the EU.;
1999: Publication of the European Spatial Development Perspective, adopted by informal meeting of Ministers responsible for spatial planning, followed an extensive process of meetings involving senior officials and ministers from Member States begun in 1989;
2000: Publication of Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent, by Council of Europe Ministers Responsible for Regional/Spatial Planning (CEMAT);
2000: Publication of Lisbon Agenda, shift in EU policy focus to global competiveness following concerns regarding the weak economic position of the EU in relation to the US and Asian economies;
2001: Launch of Gothenburg Agenda, stressed importance of sustainable development and climate change mitigation and adaptation, also supported by publication of EU Sustainable Development Strategy, with strong emphasis on policy integration, balanced regional development and improved land-use management;
2007: Adoption of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union: Towards a More Competitive and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions, by informal meeting of Ministers responsible for spatial planning. An evidence-based document The Territorial State and Perspectives, drawing extensively on ESPON results, was published in parallel;
2008: European Commission publishes Green Paper entitled Territorial Cohesion: Turning Diversity into Strength, ensuring continued debate on the precise meaning and specific objectives of Territorial Cohesion policy;
2009: The Lisbon Treaty comes into force, including economic, social and territorial cohesion as core objectives of the EU.
2011: Revised Territorial Agenda and Territorial State and Perspectives policy statements are expected to be published under the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union.