The German Annual of Spatial Research and Policy 2009 discusses new disparities in spatial development in Europe. It explores the concept of spatial disparities, which has its roots in national spatial planning and spatial development policy. The authors give a survey of the process of formulating a European position on 'territorial cohesion' during the past ten years and address some of the spatial consequences of the transformation from the industrial to the knowledge society. The position that metropolitan regions in particular would profit from expansion of the knowledge economy is also examined. Further topics are demographic transformation in the EU27 and its regional developments, the regional differentiation in the generative behaviour of the population in Hungary and the question as to whether or not the principle of subsidiarity prevents equivalent ecological living conditions in the European Union.