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Boost for the macro-region Alps

The regions concerned should in future take a key role in macro-regional strategies © mr.basile / flickr.com

The European Union is publishing its first analysis of existing macro-regions - encouraging news for current developments in the Alpine space.
What is the added value of the European strategies for the Danube and Baltic Sea areas? A European Commission report for the first time provides the answer to this question. The outcome is consistently positive: resources are bundled through macro-regional strategies, numerous new projects are being initiated and international co-operation has been strengthened. There are however difficulties, such as staff shortages in the administrations concerned or financing, which relies heavily on European territorial co-operation programmes. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, states: "Experience shows that it is better at the beginning to concentrate on a certain number of priorities." The Commission thus also recommends in its report that future macro-regions should be able to reduce the number of priorities or shift focus.
The development of a macro-region Alps is being indirectly encouraged by the European Commission through its recommendation of better co-operation at all levels of governance: "The key to the future lies in a stronger leadership role with a strengthening of individual responsibility in the regions concerned." The Commission wants to continue to play an important role, "but its support must be tempered by an actual leadership role for the regions concerned". The European Commission can indeed facilitate strategies, but only to certain extent. The Alps appear to have good potential for a macro-regional strategy, as there already exists a clearly defined bottom-up approach.
Sources and further information: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/upload (de), http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-628_en
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