beige analog compass

What is a macro-region?

Originally posted at Atlantic Cities’ blog (March 2014)

Since the approval of the Baltic Strategy in 2009, the term macroregion has become fashionable. The different EC communications on the implementation of this initiative, as well as for the Danube have been completed by scientific articles and policy positions from European territories.

In a nutshell, we may say that a macroregion is defined by:

  • The identification of a territorial area / sea basin which cuts across several states (members or not of the EU) affected by common issues
  • The will to set up enhanced cooperation in a limited number of areas, aiming to economies of scale between governance levels
  • Running a flexible agreement: No new institutions, legislation or funding sources.

The implementation of the Baltic macro-region has also identified some keys for success:

  • Political engagement of all the levels involved (from local to EU institutions)
  • Operational coordination among the different policies, programmes and sources of funding that deal with the issues at stake and are supported by a follow-up system
  • Open system of governance: European Commission as coordinator, supported by national contacts and thematic / project coordinators. The European Council should ensure participation of all EU countries.
  • Significant participation of all stakeholders, in particular civil society and the private sector
  • Using existing platforms, notably international organisations already present in the area
  • Awareness campaigns to enable transfer of capabilities, to boost participation and to foster ownership

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