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Brussels, 22 October 2013
EU macro regional strategies going from "strength to strength" says Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn after Member States endorse European Commission study
A European Commission evaluation of how countries are tackling common problems from pollution, crime, missing transport links to lack of competitiveness through the EU's so called macro regional strategies, was endorsed today by national governments represented at the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
The study was asked for by Member States who today reiterated their support for the macro regional approach and for the existing Danube and Baltic strategies. These two strategies bring together 15 Member States and several neighbouring non-EU members as well.
Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, has already been asked by EU national governments to put forward proposals for a third – Adriatic-Ionian – macro regional strategy next year.
He said, "Today's debate and conclusions reflect more than warm words from EU Member States. Theirs is an active engagement which I find hugely encouraging. Our study - endorsed today - shows the macro regional approach is going from strength to strength. The Baltic and Danube strategies are already delivering concrete results despite being relatively new. Member States, regions and cities are increasingly seeing that the value of co-operating in such a close way to solve common problems is not only a highly effective approach in terms of results, but in this time of limited resources, a very cost effective one as well."
"From tackling phosphate pollution in the Baltic Sea to improving flood prevention for communities living near the Danube and linking research centres and SMEs across borders, hundreds of projects focused on key challenges are bearing fruit. Through these shared initiatives we are tackling the brain drain, promoting innovation and the digital agenda as well as supporting the low-carbon economy."
"As we look to the EU's next 7-year budget we can step up a gear. We are currently planning the next generation of EU-funded programmes and the macro regional approach will certainly be at the forefront of our minds, to apply when appropriate, and when working purely at national level clearly is not enough. I count on Member States' continued commitment and engagement. In the meantime this year's Danube and Baltic Forums in Bucharest and Vilnius on October 28/29 and November 11/12 respectively will give us a chance to follow up on the recommendations from today's conclusions: in particular how countries and regions can further improve the management of these promising strategies"
Commission Evaluation of Macro Regional Strategies
Council Conclusions on the added value of macro regional strategies