2017 Berlin

Learning from each other’s - building a dialogue between macro-regional strategies

Time:              14th June, 13.45 - 15.15
Venue:            Konrad-Adenauer-Saal

In a changing Europe with need of more targeted solutions to our common societal challenges macro-regional strategies (MRS) are powerful tools gathering stakeholders in joint development processes. They can also be important instruments to counter the disconnection between the EU and its citizens and help to bridge this gap by shaping a Europe in a way that makes sense for citizens.

Speakers, panellists, moderator:
Two panels, one providing a researcher’s view on what have been achieved so far, possibilities and challenges for the future and the other one providing an internal view answering the same questions.

Panel 1
•    Silke Haarich (Spatial Foresight)
•    Stefan Gänzle (University of Agder in Norway)
•    Miroslav Veskovic (EC DG Joint Research Centre)

•    Moderator: Anders Bergström, Horizontal Action Coordinator HA Capacity

Panel 2
•    Bojana Cipot (Assisting National Coordinator Slovenia, EUSALP, EUSAIR and EUSDR)
•    Anders Lindholm (Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation in Sweden)
•    Claudia Singer, Project Manager PA 10 "Institutional Capacities & Cooperation", EUSDR

•    Moderator: Mikko Lohikoski, Horizontal Action Coordinator HA Capacity

Organiser(s) & contact details:
Baltic Sea NGO Network/Norden Association in Sweden: Anders Bergström, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  +46 70 567 05 84
Union of the Baltic Cities/Centrum Balticum Foundation: Mikko Lohikoski, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  +358 50 5590 238
Swedish Institute: Åsa Lundmark, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  +46 8 453 78 03

Macro-regional strategies (MRS) focus on societal challenges that can’t be solved solely on local, regional or national levels but require cooperation. MRS’ are complex initiatives, with multiple stakeholders, bringing different perspectives together, with multilevel governances and participation as guiding principles. By involving multiple stakeholders and encouraging bottom-up approaches, they can be important instruments to counter the disconnection between the citizens and the European Union.

All stakeholders involved in the implementation of MRS’ need to act on the fact that the MRS in question is an interconnected system, where existing institutions, existing funding and existing legislations are tools to be used, in different combinations to reach the aims and objectives of the strategy. Unlike most of the conventional international cooperation strategies, MRS’ have no strict governance structures and no associated budget or financial institutions. The participating countries are expected to form and implement the strategy by means of aligning work of existing institutions and financial resources available at various levels, i.e. the EU programmes, national, regional and local funds. Mobilisation for the implementation of MRS’ is to follow the principle of multi-level governance. Effectively, the implementation context is characterised by high complexity and diversity of actors, as well as high level of uncertainty and ambiguity.

In 2016, a new dynamic in macro-regional cooperation seemed to unfold: at the launch of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region in Brdo, MEP Mercedes Bresso suggested that a new role will be given to macro-regional strategies in the future. Recently, the EU Commission launched studies and a series of workshops to investigate the added value of macro-regions, called for an in-depth analysis of the four existing EU macro-regions in the Danube, Baltic, Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine Regions, and their potential role within the EU cohesion policies. It is a good time to ask what role macro-regional cooperation can play in the future.

Two panels will elaborate on the lessons learned, the future opportunities and challenges for macro-regional strategies as vehicles for closer cooperation, more involvement and a coherent Europe. In the first panel we have gathered researchers monitoring the performance and impact of macro-regional strategies. For the second panel, we have invited practitioners, an Assisting National Coordinator, a Policy Area Coordinator as well as one person that followed the development of macro-regional strategies from the start, both with an EU Commission and a Member State perspective. Together they possess experiences from all four Strategies.