the geography, or “spatiality” of justice ... is an integral and formative component of justice itself, a vital part of how justice and injustice are socially constructed and evolve over time. Viewed in this way, seeking spatial justice becomes fundamentally, almost inescapably, a struggle over geography
— Edward W. Soja, Seeking Spatial Justice (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2010)
eu.jpg

What is the territory of the EU? It clearly includes the 28 countries within the Union governed according to the competences allocated under EU law. Particularly through its cohesion funds, however, the EU has engaged in projects of 'territorial cohesion' and spatial governance to reframe our understanding of the scale at which the EU governs. Legislation, and EU money, is enabling institutional actors within the Union to use cohesion resources to introduce new and innovative scales of governance. New places are being called into being new, governed by place rather than simply at a national or federal scale, including new devices such as macro-regions and European Groupings on Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) as well as riverbeds and ecosystems. 

These are spatial strategies that are not yet well understood in EU or even, where they are more longstanding, environmental law. They entail governing from the site up (much as laws of place do at a local scale) rather than from the authority (be it the EU or individual Member States) down. 

These developments are considered  with Jane Holder (UCL) more fully in 'Drawing out the Elements of Territorial Cohesion: Re-scaling EU Spatial Governance' (2011) 30 Yearbook of European Law  358-380 and 'Seeking Spatial and Environmental Justice for People and Places within the EU' in Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos ed. (2011) Law and ecology: new environmental foundations, Routledge, Abingdon.

Antonia Layard, University of Bristol. Contact.