A macro-regional tool in the making: evidence from ESPON and inputs to post 2020
In order improve the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of the policy making processes, monitoring has a strategic role to play. ESPON in close cooperation with DG Regio agreed to develop a project aimed at creating a monitoring tool for the four EU macro-regions that on a regular basis can provide and promote territorial evidence for the EU macro-regional strategies (MRS) and their policy orientations and objectives.
This session presented the monitoring tool being developed by ESPON in close cooperation with the EC and the EU MRS governance bodies and discussed the current and future post 2020 role of the macro-regional strategies.
Main conlusions and summary:
- MRS are bottom up initiatives originated on a voluntary basis by the countries concerned. To be effective, MRS require unconditional ownership from the participating countries. In real terms, MRS need continued support from the political level, adequate and competent administrative and technical capacity from relevant national and regional administrations, active involvement of civil society.
- MRS do not have their own financing. For their implementation, they must count on all relevant resources available in the macroregion: EU funds, national and local funds, loans from international financial institutions, private resources. To that aim, the objectives of the MRS must be consistent with relevant sectoral and territorial strategies in the participating countries.
- Macroregions are considered as a functional approach that builds on common territorial specificites or challenges. Macroregions did not develop a macroregional territorial vision. If there is no territorial vision, how can we coordinate the policies (or projects) at different levels?
- In some MR governance was already well developed before the establishment of a macroregion (EUSBR) and can comfortably support the macroregional approach. In the EUSAIR governance was quite an issue until the Facility Point was fully operational. Governance should be also an element of monitoring the performance of a MR.
- It is important to develop synergies between macroregions, profit from good practices, exchange knowledge, build networks.
- The ongoing programming exercise for 2021-27 EU funds provides a unique opportunity to include MRS priorities in the operational programmes, notably those of the "Investment for Growth and Jobs" goal mainstream programmes.
- To be effective, the "embedding" of MRS priorities in relevant national and regional programmes requires close coordination between MRS key implementers and programme authorities, as inter alia called for by the Council in their Conclusions adopted last May.
- It is important to work further on data availability at lower geographical levels and not only related to administrative borders and mainly on data harmonisation for non EU countries. ESPON could have a specific role there and carry out a data related project in that respect that could also support other territorial cooperation initiatives in the EU.
Take away message
Let's work together to develop a macroregional territorial vision that could be a framework for future activities in the MRs. If there is no territorial vision, how can we coordinate the policies at different levels in the MRs?
Let's develop synergies between macroregions, profit from good practices, exchange knowledge, build networks.
Let's suppport a data related project on data gathering and production in non EU countries participating in MRS to be used in other territorial cooperation initiatives in the EU.
Franziska Sielker: “Coordination of tasks is still one of the challenges in the MRS and cooperation and long term vision are the most important elements to consider. Where do we want to go and what do we want to achieve in terms of territorial development? We need to talk one to another"
Jean-Pierre Halkin: '“Macro-regional strategies have huge political credentials. It is important to raise awareness about the MRS. Without communication there is no governance. MRS are a laboratory for governance”
Efrain Larrea: “ESPON monitoring tool has 276 unique indicators at different levels for the EUMRS and for the European module providing information about the territorial context and latest development trends”
Blanka Bartol: "Ideally macro-regional strategies should have a territorial vision aimed at giving a framework for future activities, projects and monitoring. Without territorial vision how can we coordinate?”
Mathilde Konstantopoulou: “It is important to raise awareness about macroregions at all levels of governance. It is important to discuss what we are going to monitor and what we want to achieve?”