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Macro-regional strategies, such as the Danube: a framework for promoting transnational clusters

Opinion Number: CDR 6422/2018
Rapporteur: TURLAIS Dainis
Commission: COTER
Status: Adopted
Date: 26/06/2019
This opinion follows a referral from the Romanian Presidency of the EU (January-June 2019). Romania was also chairing the Danube Strategy until October 2019.
The opinion looks at the implementation of macro-regional strategies, building on the European Commission’s second report on macro-regional strategies, published on 29 January 2019 and paying particular attention to the Danube Strategy and to the issue of transnational clusters.

The Councif of the EU adopted, on 21 May 2019, conclusions on the implementation of macro-regional strategies which are in line with the CoR opinion. The CoR had been in contact with the Council during the preparation of this opinion (eg. bilateral meeting between the rapporteur and the RO permanent representation to the EU) and the rapporteur had written a letter to Mr Ciamba, Minister chairing the Council's working party (Romanian Presidency) ahead of the adoption of the Council's conclusions, stressing the main points of the CoR draft opinion. he Council conclusions refer to several points underlined by the CoR opinion such as the importance of clusters and the need to involve Local and regional authorities.

The Romanian Presidency invited the rapporteur (on behalf of the CoR President) to present its opinion at a ministerial meeting of the Ministers of economy of the Danube strategy on "The role of SMEs and business support structures as instruments for regional development in the framework of the post 2020 Cohesion Policy", in Bucharest on 27 June 2019 (they day after the adoption of the opinion).

Mr Turlais also presented the CoR views at a thematic session of the annual forum of the Danube strategy, on 27 June, Bucharest.

Mr Turlais spoke at a public hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee in Bucharest, 21 May 2019, on "Towards a better economic convergence and competitiveness within EU macro-regions”, gathering representatives from the EU institutions, Romanian business community and civil society.

Mr Turlais spoke at the annual meeting of the High-Level Group on Macro-regional strategies, on 22 February 2019, in brussels,organised and chaired by the European Commission. This groups gathers the representatives from all EU member states as well as those from the non-EU countries participating in the macroregional strategies and aims at ensuring coordination and sharing good practices among the macroregional strategies, evaluating the progress on their implementation, and providing strategic guidance.


- stresses that MRS are an excellent bottom up tool for territorial cooperation, providing opportunities for genuine multi-level governance without creating new red tape, bridging the gap between EU and local policy making and directly involving representatives of cities and regions;

- reiterates its support to the "three Yesses" principle: yes to better synergies with funding instruments, yes to better embedding of existing strictures, yes to better implementation of existing rules;

- calls for greater coordination between the priorities of macro-regional strategies and all EU funds and sectoral policy programmes;

- calls for further engagement of the Member States and regions and the allocation of the necessary financial and human resources to allow macro-regional strategies to reach their potential;

- suggests exploring how MRS could contribute to the future relationship between the UK and the EU and involve local and regional authorities in the discussions;

- underlines the potential of clusters to become world level value chains and having real impact on social, economic and territorial cohesion;

- calls on the EC to develop measures to further support the promotion of clusters' work and of inter-cluster cooperation, for example through logistical and small-scale financial support.

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