Report on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies
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Globalisation has made countries more interdependent and problems must now be addressed across borders. This calls for a reflection on how macro-regions, as new functional areas, can contribute to improving the implementation of EU policies and programmes and to the achievement of territorial cohesion, as set out in Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The emergence of macro-regional strategies (MRS) has been driven by a number of EU countries and regions as a complement to traditional country policies on territorial management. They are designed to tackle common challenges e.g. innovation-driven growth, environment or climate change, using a bottom-up approach involving national, regional and local actors.
Since the European Council endorsed the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) in 2009, three further MRS have been developed: the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) in 2011, the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) in 2014 and the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) in 2016.
Involving 19 EU and 8 non-EU countries, MRS have now become an integral part of the EU policy framework. Their objectives are fully in line with EU political priorities; they reinforce synergies between different EU policies and instruments and are anchored in the cohesion policy framework.
MRS add value to the cooperation dimension of cohesion policy. They offer a platform for multi-sectoral, multi-country and multi-level governance, also open to non-EU countries. They can play a substantial role in helping these countries to strengthen their links with the EU and mitigate possible negative effects on the EU’s external borders.
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