Following the agreement reached at  the First Macro-Regional Civil Agora in the Hungarian capital in December 2023 representatives of civil society organisations and local communities from the Danube (EUSDR) macro-region and beyond gathered in Budapest on 29 February – 01 March 2024. The 40 participants came from 12 countries and the rich discussions they had revealed their commitment to create a strong and sustainable civil pillar for the EU macro-regional strategies.

The workplan for 2024 was presented, discussed and approved. The common understanding was that it provides an open and flexible framework for our joint place-based  activities promoting the macro-regional idea from a bottom-up perspective. 

Key elements of the workplan include  similar preparatory meeings in the other macro-regions: for the EUSALP in Lyon (FR) on 3 May, for the EUSAIR  in Zagreb (HR) on 14 May and for the EUSBSR in Visby (SE) on 29 October 2024. The concluding event of this process is the Second Macro-Regional Citizen Agora in Brussels in December 2024.

In addition a capacity building and training course is organised for young people in Ulm (DE) in July and we will host a civil workshop within the frame of the EU Macro-Regional and Sea Basin Strategies Days in Brussels on 12 June 2024. The full text of the workplan will be available on our website.

There was also an agreement on making practical steps in setting up a macro-regional civil network. It will be an open and inclusive alliance avoiding bureaucratic approaches and  hurdles. Those who are interested can join one of the two categories: a) registered civil society organisations or b) others including individuals. Detailed info will be available soon on the website.

A separate discussion took place on the in-between state of play of the Reports of the Commission on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies with meaningful contributions from the representative of DG Regio, Team Leader Johan Magnusson and from the EESC member-delegate Andras Edelenyi. Participants agreed to contribute by well-consulted proposals to the elaboration of the new Implementation Report  to be released by the end of the year.

The concluding phase of the event was devoted to safeguarding European democracy and values in the context of the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections. Participants pointed out the interconnectedness between the promotion of the macro-regional idea and the need to contribute to the pro-European outcome of the EP elections. The kick-off event of our „My ideal EP candidate” campaign takes place in Lyon on 2 May 2024 followed by others.

There was a general agreement among the participants that more targeted efforts are needed to demonstrate the value of civil society commitment to and involvement in macro-regional policies and beyond.

The full documentation of the event will be made available soon on the website of the European House Budapest.

The event is part of the Stronger.Together project run by the European House Budapest and supported by the European Union.

The report was compiled by the European House Budapest.