It was in December 2022 when the European Commission released its 4th Report on the Implementation of EU macro-regional strategies inviting the other EU institutions to react to it. Here you find information on two important developments.

From a citizen’s perspective there are several highly relevant references in the Council conclusions adopted on 27 June 2023. First and foremost it highlights the importance to facilitate the engagement of civil society organisations, youth, academia and businesses in the implementation of the Strategies. In addition, the Council conclusions recognise the importance of macro-regional strategies in bridging local and regional actions with European political priorities – notably based on participatory planning in all strategies.

The Council also acknowledges the work done by Ukraine in 2022 chairing EUSDR (EU Strategy for the Danube Region) while defending its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity against the Russian aggression. The EU’s Councils invites the strategies’ participating countries to look for possibilities for even closer cooperation with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova in practical terms.

The Council encourages all key stakeholders to further explore the use of the strategies in facilitating the enlargement process, as well as in building trust and confidence among neighbouring countries.

The voice of organised civil society in Europe, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) at its May 2023 plenary session adopted its position on the MRS Implementation Report of the Commission.

The EESC acknowledges that macro-regional strategies play an important role in the social, territorial and economic cohesion of the regions and contribute to the European integration of neighbouring countries.

However, there are several fields where more efforts are needed to strengthen MRS so that they can be leaders for change, inspire confidence and promote European values. The suggested EESC steps include

  • addressing disparities between the various MRS especially with regard to the regions most disadvantaged, to prevent turning economic competitiveness and social cohesion into something problematic that will lead to bigger gaps between regions that are more „developed” and those that are less so;
  • organising forums with the representatives of civil society and social partners in MRS Member States;
  • welcoming the initiatives to establish an institutionalised citizen’s dialogue across macro-regions;
  • establishing a system for short- and medium duration exchange of civil servants between the MRS regions, similar to the Erasmus+ programme.

The director of European House Budapest participated in the elaboration of the EESC position and European House Budapest is ready to contribute to the implementation of the EESC proposals.