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Macro-regional Strategies, Cohesion Policy and Regional Cooperation in the European Union: Towards a Research Agenda

Political Studies Review, 1–14, SAGE Publishing, 2018

Authors:

Stefan Gänzle, Dominic Stead, Franziska Sielker, Tobias Chilla

Abstract

Since 2009, the European Union has developed strategies for the Baltic Sea, Danube, Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine macro-regions. These macro-regional strategies represent a new tool of European Union governance that seeks to combine the community’s territorial cooperation and cohesion policy repertoire with intergovernmental ‘regional cooperation’ involving European Union member and partner countries. By establishing comprehensive governance architectures for cross-sectoral and trans-boundary policy coordination in areas such as transport infrastructure and environmental protection, macro-regional strategies seek to mobilise European Union member and non-member states alike in promoting and harmonising territorial and trans-governmental cooperation. Both the macro-regional strategies and the macro-regions themselves have been met with increasing interest across several disciplines, including geography, regional planning, political science and public administration, triggering questions and debates on issues such as their impacts on existing practices of territorial cooperation and their relation to previously established forms of regional cooperation. Authored by scholars based in the above-mentioned fields of study, this contribution seeks to take stock of research on the subject to date, reflect on conceptual starting points and highlight new directions for future research in the political sciences.