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The European Union’s Macro-regional Turn: Signal or Noise?

Civil Society
Comparative Politics
European Union
Governance
Institutions
Public Administration
Regionalism
P117
Jörg Balsiger
University of Geneva
Simona Piattoni
Università degli Studi di Trento

Floor: Second Floor, Room: Aula 15

Saturday 11:00 - 12:30 (18/06/2016)


Abstract

With the adoption of the EU Strategies for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) in 2009, the Danube Region (EUSDR) in 2011, the Adriatic and Ionian Region in 2014 and the Alpine Region in 2015, the European Union established a new macro-regional approach focussing on ‘functional’ cooperation in key policy areas such as transport, environmental policy, and economic innovation and development. Macro-regional strategies seek to make better use of myriad projects, support territorial cohesion, and contribute to the objectives of Europe 2020. The macro-regional policy process provides the European Commission with a central role in various phases of the policy-making and implementation process, integrates a wide range of public and private actors from various levels and sectors and, ultimately, affects the implementation of EU policies since they require an alignment of project funding through Structural Funds. This panel explores the current state-of-affairs of macro-regional processes. Its purpose is, first, to provide an overview of that status of macro-regionalization in selected region with a view to drawing comparative lessons concerning key drivers, main actors, and governance arrangements. Second, the panel presentations examine theoretical approaches – e.g. European enlargement, multi-level governance, rescaling, soft spaces, regulatory regionalism – in order to assess what aspects of macro-regionalization can be understood with what frameworks. Finally, the panelists will address possible new directions in research on macro-regionalization, given that four strategies have now been approved but that no additional ones are on the horizon. Will macro-regions become a cornerstone of the European Union’s understanding of variable geometry, creating new policy spaces and identities? Or will they merely become another attempt at better coordinating the plethora of EU cohesion policy investments? Will we still talk about macro-regional strategies in ten years?

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Development and Implementation of EU Macro-regional Strategies: Towards a New Form of European Governance? View Paper Details