Since 2009, four macro-regional strategies have been adopted by the European Union, involving 19 EU countries (and 8 non-EU countries) and tens of regional and local authorities. It was an ambitious move by the EU to set up these unique integrated frameworks to foster multilevel institutional cooperation on common issues in a defined geographical area. Indeed, such initiatives have considerably raised interest in EU debates over policies and governance.
The governance structure of EUSALP is laid at 3 levels:
Political leadership implies both a political and operational dimension. Strong and structured political support, with ministers determining the overall direction of the Strategy, taking ownership and responsibility, aligning policies and funds, and providing the resources and status for decision making, is crucial.
This level, represented by the General Assembly, should ensure the overall political orientation as well as providing strategic thematic guidance and decisions on actions. To ensure a balanced distribution, a rotating presidency will be set up. It can be allocated to all participating States and Regions with the agreement of the Commission
The governance of a macro-regional strategy requires greater dialogue and substantial coordination across all decision-making levels, and sectors inside each state and region as well as between participating States and Regions, to reduce fragmentation, improve realisation of actions and encourage effective participation from the actors involved. It also requires the capacity to exchange information and to detect policy gaps when they arise. This overall coordination is ensured by the Executive Board.
Implementation is a key step, as it is mainly based on the results of joint actions and projects completed at macro-regional level that better and informed decisions can be taken at political level to improve the efficiency of the policies concerned and to reach the objectives assigned to the Strategy. The objectives of the Strategy are implemented thanks to 9 complementary Action Groups.
DG REGIO - ACTIVE STRATEGIC ROLE
Initiated by Member States, the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy at the European Commission (DG REGIO) is responsible for coordinating the development of the macro-regional strategies after formal request of the European Council. However, for the implementation of a macro-region, the Member States are core and the European Commission plays a more active and strategic role in supporting the dialogue, acting as an idependant faciltator and assessing the implementation of macro-regional strategies.
Every two years, the European Commission publishes a report to assess the implementation of the macro-regional strategies including the inputs of the stakeholders.
The cooperation is based on non-binding strategy documents setting out joint strategic goals, which are accompanied by so-called Action Plans. Action Plans are rolling documents which are being updated and present the focus areas and exemplary projects.
The Commission also acts as coordinator and co-chair of the meetings of the Executive Board and the General Assembly, without voting right.
The Commission will confirm that decisions taken by the General assembly comply with EU legislation, when appropriate.
The basis of the governance system of the EUSALP Strategy was laid down in the Milan Declaration of the Alpine States and Regions, adopted at the EUSALP Stakeholder Conference in Milan on 1 December 2014. It is in accordance with the Grenoble Political Resolution of 18 October 2013, the Commission report on governance of macro-regional strategies (COM(2014)284 final adopted on 20 May 2014) and the Council Conclusions of 21 October 2014.
DG REGIO EUSALP TEAM
To get in contact with the EUSALP team in DG REGIO, please email the secretary of the REGIO. DDG.D1 : REGIO-TRANSNATIONAL-AND-INTERREGIONAL-COOPERATION@ec.europa.eu
- Julie THIRAN, Team Leader
- Miguel AVILA ALBEZ
- European Commission, Macro-regional Strategies web portal
- EU Cohesion Policy beyond 2027 : High-Level Reflection Group
- European Commission, report on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies, January 2023
- European Parliament, briefing on the implementation of macro-regional strategies, 2017
- Political Declaration “Sustainable Land Use and Soil Protection”, 2018
- EUSALP Energy Survey; 2017