The European Commission has published the first study to weigh up the success of the EU's Baltic and Danube macro-regional strategies and to provide recommendations for the future.
The report delivers a broadly positive verdict on the existing strategies so far. It highlights how they have created hundreds of new projects and helped to formulate joint policy objectives in areas of vital importance for the regions involved, while resulting in numerous joint initiatives and networks, as well as political decisions at collective level. It also says cooperation between the participating EU countries and neighbouring non-EU countries has been significantly strengthened and that has resulted in more efficient use of the resources available.
Still, the report stresses the need for political commitment and for making the strategies a priority across all relevant policy areas, ensuring they are embedded in future European Structural and Investment Funds programmes, as well as other relevant EU, regional and national policy frameworks. It also underlines the importance of administrative resources to deliver the objectives.
Concerning future macro-regional strategies, the report indicates that new initiatives should only be launched to address particular needs for improved and high-level cooperation. There must be readiness to translate political commitment into administrative support, and new strategies should clearly demonstrate the particular added-value at EU level.