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Europe's Macroregional Experiment: the first Evaluation

(01 July 2013)

Europe's Macroregional Experiment: the first Evaluation

Today the European Commission has published the first study to weigh up the success of the EU's two macro-regional strategies and to provide recommendations for the future.

The EU's Danube and Baltic Strategies, involving over 20 EU and non EU countries, have pioneered a unique kind of cooperation, based on the idea that common challenges faced by specific regions –whether environmental, economic or security related – are best tackled collectively, and that it makes sense to plan together for the most effective deployment of the funds available.

Commenting on the report, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, said: “Today's study shows the clear value of our macro regional strategies. Their intensified cooperation has resulted in literally hundreds of new projects and new networks in the Danube and the Baltic regions. Above all, participants tell us that cooperation – including with non EU member states has been significantly strengthened."

"But, if we want to ensure lasting success the approach must be placed at the heart of government and regional policy plans – particularly in the design of new programmes and projects for the next financial period – and backed up by enough resources. We need even stronger ownership by the regions themselves, delivering clearer decision making and greater visibility."

As far as new strategies are concerned Commissioner Hahn added, "Existing strategies provide useful lessons for potential new macro regions. Before launching any new strategy, we should consider carefully what its objectives are, what added value it can bring, and how it would be resourced. Experience shows it is helpful to concentrate on a limited number of priorities at the start. Of course every region is unique, and new macro regions may try new approaches to deepening cooperation."

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