Macro-regional strategies: framework for promoting transnational clusters

This article was published under the 2015-2020 European Committee of the Regions mandate.



Last updated
3 December 2019

26-27 June 2019
Adoption at CoR Plenary


December 2018
appointment of the rapporteur

Developing Macro-regional strategies

Macro-regional strategies promote regional development; representing a real and deeply European vision. Developing transnational clusters offers a strong potential and unique innovative way to promote cooperation between the EU and between the EU and its neighbours, says our rapporteur Dainis Turlais

Read more


Macroregional strategies (MRS) are proving able to deliver growth and improve cohesion of neighbouring regions from both EU and non-EU countries, faced by common challenges.

This report concerns the referral from the Romanian Presidency and the upcoming European Commission report on the implementation of macro-regional strategies expected to be issued on 13 December. This referral will look at the implementation of macro-regional strategies, with a particular focus on the Danube strategy and the issue of clusters.



9 July

Latvian media Aprinkis LV covers Turlais’ report at the European Committee of the Regions.

2 July

Latvian media LPS summarizes Dainus Turlais’ work and report at the CoR plenary

27 June

Latvian media LPS covers Dainis Turlais’ intervention in Bucharest. The rapporteur attended the EUSDR 8th annual forum: building cohesion for a shared prosperity in the Danube region.  

26 June

Debate at the Plenary of the European Committee of the Regions & unanimous approval of Dainis Turlais’ report. 

After the adoption, rapporteur Dainis Turlais stressed that: “MRS represent a deeply European vision, having great potential and innovatively promote working together to achieve shared goals. These goals are important for European citizens regardless of the country or region they live in. The strategies provide real opportunities for multi-level governance without creating red tape while bridging the gap between EU and local policy-makers as they involve directly the representatives of cities and regions.”

“I would like to propose my idea of the magic triangle, which could be our new success formula. This triangle is made of three sides: academia and science on one side, entrepreneurs, who use the scientific achievements and turn them into products, on the other side, and local and regional governments, who play connecting role and provide infrastructure for the stakeholders, on the third side”, rapporteur Turlais added.


Dainis Turlais supports the inclusion in the recent Council conclusions regarding the advantage of the links between smart specialisation strategies and clusters. Turlais: “I agree with the Council that this would help to better connect ecosystems as well as industrial and innovation policies within macro-regional strategies. I therefore call for funding for cooperation in smart specialisation throughout the EU in the next Interreg budget”.

Our rapporteur also endorses the emphasis in the conclusions of the further involvement of the relevant services of the European Commission in macro-regional strategies: “There is a need to ensure greater coordination not only between countries and within each country, but also at the EU level. Macro-regional strategies relate to many policy areas and their development is not exclusively linked to EU policy on territorial cooperation. Macro-regional  strategies would therefore benefit from greater coordination between the different funding instruments available to them and managed by different Directorates General.”

Turlais is pleased that the conclusions make reference to the importance of increasing involvement, commitment and ownership of stakeholders and partners at local and regional level, as part of a bottom-up approach. This approach would bring an increasing awareness of and a feeling of inclusion in the EU. He also supports the conclusion of the Council regarding the importance of continuing to use macro-regional strategies as a strategic framework promoting more coherent and synergic implementation of EU policies, programmes and funds.

21 May

Rapporteur Turlais participates in the public hearing of the European Economic and Social Committee “Towards a better economic convergence and competitiveness within EU macro-regions” in Bucharest, Romania. 

26 March

The commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the regions (CoR) gathered in Cluj, Romania’s third largest city. Local leaders assessed the impact of macroregional strategies in the report led by Dainis Turlais. The experience developed in the Danube basin shows how macroregions can be an excellent tool for bottom-up territorial coordination, involving all levels of government without creating new red tape.

Macroregional strategies are improving public services, natural resource management, innovation strategies and many other aspects in the life of involved local communities”, said the rapporteur, adding at the same time that: “a stronger coordination is needed both at EU level, with a better integration of different funding tools and a stronger cooperation of all relevant Directorates of the European Commission”.  

Looking at improving coordination at national level, COTER members identified the network of national authorities implementing the European Regional Development Fund in the Baltic Sea Region as a model to replicate in other sectoral policies and geographical areas.

Agence France Presse covers this in English and French

22 February

Dainis Turlais participates in the High-Level Group on Macro-regional Strategies meeting in Brussels. 



Additional documents

Media corner