EP calls for macro-regional strategy for Mediterranean
By Anne Eckstein | Thursday 05 July 2012
Welcoming the benefits the macro-regional approach has brought to cooperation between territories belonging to the same population centre, the European Parliament has backed this approach, saying that it is necessary to support the structure of governance, enlarged to local and regional authorities, and within the framework of its work for 2014-2020. By adopting a report by François Alfonsi (Greens-EFA, France) on 3 July, MEPs showed their support for the use of this approach for other regions, including the Mediterranean.
Macro-regional strategies have opened a new chapter in the area of territorial cooperation, by applying a methodology that starts with a base level of cooperation and subsequently expands it to more areas - thanks to better use of resources, MEPs said. The overview offered by such strategies gives better added value to territorial cooperation projects, and to the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) allowing reinforced synergies within the main EU strategies, such as Trans-European Transport Networks and Integrated Maritimine Policy, and enabling recourse to other tools, such as those proposed by the European Investment Bank. The EP recommends multilevel governance and advocates the participation of the regional authorities and the highest possible number of interested parties, including civil society.
Referring to macro-regional strategies that are already in place (Baltic and Danube), the EP has called for these to be the subject of a full evaluation, on the basis of objective criteria and measurable indicators. It suggested that the Commission should organise a process of reflection and dialogue with member states and the regions on future macro-regional strategies in order to identify prioirity zones on the basis of a lack of cooperation or the need to reinforce cooperation between European territories belonging to different member states but participating in the same population centre. The objective: to develop a provisional map of European macro-regions. The EP is calling on the Commission and the Council to take these strategies into account when deciding on budgetary envelopes for Structural and Cohesion Funds, research and regional cooperation.
The EP has supported the establishment of a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean Basin, linking up European national, regional and local authories, regional organisations, financial institutions and regional NGOs, as well as the Union for the Mediterranean and third countries. This could, the EP said, guarantee that the diverse regional programmes are complementary and ensure better use of existing funds. Parliament also emphasised the specific needs of the islands, and invited the Commision to implement Article 74 TFEU on insularity.