Danubius International Conferences, 10th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

Challenges and Opportunities of the Strategy European Union for the Danube Region

Georgeta Modiga
Last modified: 2020-07-15


Regional policy in the European Union is not a new topic. The European Union, in its former iterations, has earmarked funds for regional development since the 1970s, mostly for redistribution and territorial cohesion. What is new in the recent years, however, is the “shift” in the status of EU regions: from passive beneficiaries of redistributive policies to active subjects with increasing decision-making powers. Regional actors become more and more engaged in the process. Compared to other EU coordination mechanisms, macroregional strategies (MRS) intend to operate both (i) horizontally, for the territorial harmonization of the instruments for development, as well as (ii) vertically, by harmonizing the actions of relevant actors from one state, or beyond its borders. Macroregional strategies have greatly enhanced the stakes of the cohesion policies of the EU, ever since the adoption of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) in 2009. From that moment on, more strategies along similar lines were proposed and adopted by the EU. One can nowadays easily imagine a future EU fully covered by macroregional strategies, in which decision-makers, local, regional, national and at EU level, interact in complex ways and shape sectorial policies. After all, the European Commission has described macroregional strategies as “regional building blocks for EU-wide policy” (EC, 2013a).