The first ever Shadow Report, a reflection paper of civil society on EU macro-regional strategies has been published on 9 March 2022.

Can an EU document be inspiring? How can citizens have a say in shaping and implementing EU policies? These were some of the initial questions when European House Budapest together with eight other civil society organisations from the four macro-regions (Baltic Sea, Danube, Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine) joined forces to prove how their bottom-up approach can make a difference in EU policy-making.

This is a pandemic project. We collected opinions, reflections, contributions and proposals from all 19 EU Member States of macro-regions and even beyond, as in macro-regions non-Member States are also involved. We organised online consultations and sent out questionnaires but more importantly consulted the draft text from Mariager (DK) to Palermo (IT), listened to voices from the Alpine region and had the opinion of young people in Budapest (HU).

At the beginning of our journey Kurt from Denmark said that the EU’s macro-regional strategies are a well-kept secret. We hope that by the end of our project we can say that the people are more aware of the opportunities offered by cross-border cooperation between stakeholders on macro-regional level.

The report has 10 chapters with 10 relevant topics ranging from democracies and values to circular economy and vision for 2030. At the end of each chapter there are concrete, specific suggestions to pave the way for next steps including the elaboration of a macro-regional civil society strategy or holding annual civil society forums with participation from the four macro-regions.

This is the first report but we hope to continue and present the second report in 2023.

Happy reading!