European Parliament recently published Report on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies, where the institution strongly supports macro-regional integration and offers a number of elements and suggestions for concrete activities on the level of macro-regions in the future.

Macro-regional strategies have gained importance in recent years as a platform for transnational cooperation between Member States but also with third countries. They provide an integrated framework to address mutual challenges and exploit common potential. In the 2014-2020 programming period, MRS have been incorporated in the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) programmes.

Currently, four existing MRS (Baltic, Danube, Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine) are bringing together 19 Member States and 8 non-EU countries. Some Member States participate in more than one MRS, whereas Slovenia is the only country that participates in three macro-regions.

MRS are set within the boundaries of the “three no’s” principle: no new EU funds, no additional EU formal structures and no new EU legislation. Financial support does come in form of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) transnational cooperation programmes which are financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

As the Commission states, MRS are about more than just funding because they “bring citizens of different Member States together and improve their social and economic living conditions through trans-border cooperation.”

Centre for European Perspective as the coordinator of the EU Strategy for Danube Region’s priority area Institutional Capacity and Cooperation in the Danube Region (PA 10) aims to promote cooperation between the 14 countries (Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova and Ukraine) for enhancing sustainable development and competitiveness of this part of Europe and follows closely the developments in the field.

A full report of the European Parliament can be accessed here.