In February, transport coordinators (from EUSBSR, policy areas Transport and Ship) of all four EU macro-regional strategies had a working meeting in Brussels. The two-day meeting, facilitated by Interact, was organized to allow peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and to map suitable angles for cross-MRS collaboration. The second half of the meeting was dedicated to the role and place of Macro-regional Strategies in the European policy landscape. Although the discussion was entered from the transport point of view, the same applies to a large extent in any thematic areas or "policy areas", as they are called in the EUSBSR framework. The following issues and possibilities were raised in the discussion:

To exploit the full potential of Macro-regional Strategies’ frameworks and the unique opportunities, MRS thematic coordinators must be seen and approached as cooperation partners in the EU processes and activities as well as at national and regional levels. Further efforts are needed to bring higher visibility to the Macro-regional Strategies’ activities, and finally, further efforts are needed to ensure continuous and regular collaboration between the European Commission services and Macro-regional Strategies’ coordinators.



Around the table, discussing the role and place of Macro-regional Strategies in the European policy landscape, EU Commission Officials from DG Regio and DG Move, and thematic coordinnators with their support unit representatives of all four EU macro-regional strategies.


Macro-regional strategies bring EU policies closer to the regions

Macro-regional Strategies’ strength is in the capacity to implement core European political initiatives across the entire macro-region, aligning and coordinating them with regional and local initiatives. Macro-regional Strategies bring Europe closer to its citizens by bringing a territorial dimension to the green, digital, and social transition, including elaborating solutions to the most urgent situations, like the pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

Macro-regional strategies bridge actors and policies on different governance levels and regions. Being an interface between the EU and national or regional level policy, Macro-regional strategies can highlight issues that are not visible either from the EU, national or regional perspectives.


Macro-regional strategies are hubs of people and knowledge

Thematic Coordinators or Policy Area coordinators as they’re called in EUSBSR, work in close contact with their steering groups, which consist of representatives from all member countries of the strategy. This enables addressing macro-regional challenges from a cross-country/region context and promoting, supporting, and implementing projects of strategic importance for the whole macro-region.

EUSBSR Policy Area Coordinators covering 14 policy areas from land to sea and from health to innovation are in constant dialogue with each other, sharing networks and thematic knowledge. This cooperation across thematic areas is an asset that even the European Commission services can and do utilise.

As an open and informal coordination framework, Macro-regional Strategies can be used to connect easily with relevant international, national, regional, and local stakeholder groups. Macro-regional Strategy thematic areas provide space and a place to share experiences and support preparations for EU membership and thus support the EU enlargement process.


You'll find Interact's full report of the meeting here.