Reducing the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare systems and recovery from the socio-economic crisis are currently the main priorities for the participating states of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR).
Supporting stronger territorial cooperation is vital to restoring European citizens' sense of belonging to the EU, a sentiment severely tested by COVID-19 as well as economic, social and political crises in recent years. In this sense, macro-regional strategies can play an important role through a coordinated approach to medium/long term economic recovery.
The 2021-2027 programming period allows for cooperation among programming authorities of neighbouring countries and within macro-regional strategies. In fact, operational programmes located in a macro-region must ensure that they contribute to funding actions and projects in line with its objectives (the embedding process).
Embedding EUSAIR and EUSDR in mainstream programmes is a strategic process to enhance the implementation of EU priorities on the territories of those macro-regional strategies, supporting at the same time the enlargement process and better and more productive relations with neighbouring countries, as well as making them more sustainable and resilient to crises and challenges, as in the case of COVID-19.
In the EUSAIR, since the adoption of the Catania Declaration (May 2018), key implementers have committed themselves to working to identify pilot macro-regional actions and projects to be implemented through national and regional ESI and IPA funding programmes in the post-2020 programming period. The selection of “flagships” last June goes exactly in the direction of helping programme authorities establish coordination mechanisms for the implementation of joint or parallel projects, while also contributing to macro-regional and national priorities. An initial meeting of ESI and IPA managing authorities with EUSAIR key implementers was held in September 2019 in Portoroz, in the framework of the “Mediterranean Coast and Macro-Regional Strategies week”.
The EUSDR held its first Task Force meeting for the 2021-2027 programming period on embedding in January 2020 in Vienna with the participation of the EUSDR key implementers, the Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme, the Danube Strategy Point and the European Commission. The network of Managing Authorities of the European Social Fund (ESF) in the Danube Region (ESF Network Danube Region), supporting Priority Area 9 “People and Skills” and Priority Area 10 “Institutional Capacity and Cooperation” of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, is already operational and fostered the embedding of EUSDR objectives into the 2014-2020 ESIF Operational Programmes. The aim of the network is to foster exchange and cooperation in order to support transnational cooperation and the implementation of objectives related to social inclusion and institutional capacity building in the Danube Region.
On 8 June, the Serbian presidency of EUSAIR, in a letter co-signed by Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of European Integration, wrote on behalf of all EUSAIR partner countries to Commissioner Várhelyi. As repeated in the Belgrade declaration of 18 June 2020, the Representatives of the Governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia expressed their joint willingness to include jointly agreed EUSAIR priorities in the future IPA III Strategic Framework, so that they could effectively utilise a portion of IPA III funds for cooperation actions and projects defined in the framework of EUSAIR.
The objective of this workshop is to build upon these experiences and broaden out the reflection at the eve of the adoption of post 2020 Cohesion Policy and IPA III programmes and to make sure that the authorities responsible for managing ESI and IPA funds fully embed macroregional priorities in their post-2020 ‘mainstream’ programmes.
Moderator: Kirill Dimanopoulos, DG REGIO
- Cooperation as a horizontal objective of Cohesion Policy 2021-2027
DG REGIO – Dirk Peters
- Opportunities of embedding EUSAIR/EUSDR priorities in IPA III programming process
DG NEAR – Andrea Saviolo
- The embedding process in the EUSAIR and EUSDR
- EUSAIR Slovenian Presidency – National Coordinator – Andreja Jerina
- EUSDR Croatian Presidency – National Coordinator - Mislav Kovač
- Concrete example of cooperation in mainstream programmes
- Interregional and Transnational Cooperation Call – Antonio Bernardo, ERDF OP Managing Authority, Region Basilicata
- ESF Network of Managing Authorities of the EUSDR - Barbara Willsberger, EUSDR Priority Area 9 and Eva Masárová, ESF Managing Authority Slovakia
Closing remarks: European Commission - DG REGIO