EU macro-regions and macro-regional strategies

A scoping study discusses the understanding of the macro-regional approach now being developed within the context of EU cooperation from a territorial development perspective and particularly in relation to transnational cooperation and territorial cohesion. Nordregio Electronic Working Paper 2009:4

The process of regional integration has implied that a broader scope of themes is included in EU transnational cooperation. The macro-regional approach includes several types of actors, state and non-state, public and private all of whom are equally interested in the process of regional integration and cooperation. Macro-regional cooperation can be based on heterogeneous structures where shared challenges are the common denominator.

In brief, macro-regional strategies may be seen as a tool of European integration and increased territorial cohesion. A certain amount of added-value can be foreseen from the development and implementation of macro-regional strategies. The message from the Commission that work must take place within the existing structural framework as regards the development and application of the strategy, moreover, implies that three fundamental questions must be posed in order to develop a successful strategy. On what themes can added-value be gauged in the development of macro-regional actions? What are the instruments at hand for implementing these actions (how)? What organisational capacity (who) is available for driving the process within the macro-region concerned? A macro-regional strategy thus needs a multi-sectoral, multi-instrumental and multi-actor approach in order to ensure that the novel use of existing structures helps to release undeveloped potential within a macro-region.

For more information about the Baltic Sea Region:
Exploring the Baltic Sea Region - On territorial capital and spatial integration. Nordregio Report 2008:3