There is a need to introduce foreign policy into the EU’s Cohesion Policy framework, in order to “correct imbalances between countries and regions” (as the Cohesion Policy puts is). This is what the Danubiana Network recommends in its working paper called ‘EU foreign policy embedded in a successful cohesion policy’. The Danubiana Network is the cooperation of civil society organisations along the Danube River, including 25 civil society members from all the 14 Danube countries.
The document, published in the frame of the ‘Flowing in the Danube – Communicating the hidden potential of the macro-regions’ project, contains specific suggestions. Civil society organizations should, for example, strengthen awareness that a common European approach to foreign policy is part of achieving cohesion among both member states and EU citizens.
The Danubiana Network also recommends reinforcing the role of the European Parliament – as the most important body of citizen legitimacy – in the field of foreign policy to make people feel that they are a constituent part of the decision-making process. EU citizens are facing “multiple once-in-a-generation crises at the same time” (Covid pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change, debates over transatlantic relations, controversies over the future of the European Union etc.), and all these topics are connected to EU foreign policy.