It is great to announce the start of the third EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week which follows the motto Engage, Empower, Evolve. The Week was opened on 7 March with expressions of solidarity and support for Ukraine and its people. Ukraine is a member of the macro-regional strategies family and has been the first non-EU country to coordinate the activities of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR).

Marc Lemaître, the Director General for Regional and Urban Policy from the European Commission, highlighted the firm commitment Ukraine has shown to furthering European cooperation by taking an active role in one of the four macro-regional strategies. He also emphasised that the EU condemns in the strongest possible terms the military aggression of Russia and stands in solidarity and support with Ukraine. “While all cooperation programmes with Russia have now been suspended, we intend to propose actions for strengthening the ongoing Interreg programmes with Ukraine.”

Although Ukrainian representatives were not able to participate in the live event, Igor Korkhovyi, the Ukrainian national coordinator of the EUSDR, addressed the macro-regional strategies community with a pre-recorded video. His message clearly communicated Ukraine’s high regard for European cooperation as well as pride in having actively participated in the EUSDR.


Opening session 2


In his remarks on behalf of all 4 macro-regional strategies, Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the EU, underlined that Ukraine is fighting not only for its freedom, but also for European security and for the survival of international law and a rules-based system. “Russia’s military aggression against one of the Members of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, is an attack not only on democratic principles and values, but also on our commitment to work together, it is also an attack on our efforts to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for our societies.” As a response, Pranckevičius called for more pressure on Russia and more support for Ukraine and emphasised the importance of upholding the rule of law, democracy, and peaceful cooperation.

Moreover, the opening session introduced the third EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week. The European Green Deal, Social Change, and the European Year of Youth are the main topics this year. Lemaître highlighted that the macro-regional strategies play a key role in bringing EU initiatives to the regional level and finding common solutions that enable the green transition, address upcoming socio-economic and environmental challenges, and boost the involvement of young people in policy making.


“The youngest of our societies have historically been a force of change. They have repeatedly proven that they are the ones who can defend our democracy, they are the ones who want a greener Europe and a more digitally robust Europe.”

Klajdi Kaziu, Youth Manifesto core group member, Secretary General of the UN Association in Albania


The EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week is organised by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy on 7-11 March 2022. More information about the event can be found on the official website of the EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week.