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Nearly 117 BSR cooperation projects will receive support from Interreg Programmes

New transnational projects have been granted with funding from Interreg programmes. The support from Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programmes and...

Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme approved 4 projects on smart specialisation

In the second call of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region 39 projects were approved for funding out of 71 project applications in the thematic fields...

Danube INTERREG - partner search

The second Call for Proposals of the Danube Transnational Programme is now open.

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EU Macro-Regional Strategies EU Macro-Regional Strategies

S3 cooperation in the frame of the EU Macro-Regional Strategies

The EU Macro-Regional Strategies (MRS) endorsed by the European Council emphasise greater co-ordination between different stakeholders and the alignment of resources and strategies in order to address common challenges  in a defined geographical area.

To date, the European Union has put in place strategies for four  macro-regions:

the EU Macro-Regional Strategy on the Baltic Sea Region – EUSBSR,

the EU Macro-Regional Strategy on theDanube Region – EUSDR,

the EU Macro-Regional Strategy on the Adriatic and Ionian Region – EUSAIR, and

the EU Macro-Regional Strategy on the Alpine Region – EUSALP.

These strategies all together concern 19 EU Member States and 6 non-EU countries.

The EU Macro-Regional Strategies (MRS) serve as multi-level platforms bringing together in an organised way national, regional authorities, sectorial ministries and agencies, managing authorities of programmes, academia, research, entrepreneurs, local associations and other stakeholders such as civil society to tackle the common challenges. Bottom-up approach supported by the MRS  is very important for the S3 strategies.

What is the rationale?

Cooperation in S3 at macro-regional level helps explore whether and how S3 priorities envisaged in national and regional strategies differentiate, or are complementary to, their neighbouring countries/regions. It also leads to the creation of strategic linkages to tackle common challenges when engaging in joint S3 initiatives.

By participating in macro-regional strategies, regional and national policymakers have an opportunity to: [1]

  • Discuss the transnational dimension of S3, its importance, relevance, and practical issues

  • Learn about available analytical tools and implementation instruments, including value chain activities through cross-cluster and cross-region cooperation

  • Examine various cooperation opportunities and steps to be taken in order to stimulate transnational cooperation in areas of smart specialisation

  • Explore common interests and set up collaborative projects

  • Jointly consider how to mobilise relevant funding sources that will support their projects

  • Provide more appropriate common or coordinated replies to global issues, and thus increase the competitiveness of the macro-region.

Collaboration in S3 on macro-regional level could allow partners to take advantage of European regional diversity, as a group of regions might develop strategies based on co-evolution and complementarity. Such a collaborative approach to policymaking can be expected to boost critical mass and knowledge complexity while further supporting ongoing entrepreneurial discoveries in various types of regions[2].

[1] Implementing Smart Specialisation Strategies: A Handbook, 2016/ Chapter IV

[2] Mariussen Åge; Rakhmatullin Ruslan; Stanionyte Lina. JRC Science for Policy Report. Smart Specialisation: Creating Growth through Trans-national cooperation and Value Chains, 2016


The macro-regional dimension in S3 provides a wider choice of combinations of actors, areas and expertise for strategic transnational R&I partnerships in the relevant S3 priority domains. MRS aim bringing together initiatives in different sectors which represent key challenges of the strategy, such as saving the sea or increasing prosperity. The challenges are connected to a wide range of policies which are organised in policy areas or priority areas (PA). Almost all strategies address wellness and prosperity of the region through research and innovation, which is an important policy area for macro-regional cooperation: in EUBSR – PA Innovation; in EUSDR – PA Knowledge Society; in EUSALP –  PA Economic Growth and Innovation. These policy areas coordinated by the National Coordinators (NCs) are the core strategic bodies gathering actors for macro-regional collaboration in R&I and smart specialisation.

What facilitates S3 cooperation in the MRS?

To facilitate a dialogue and interaction around S3 topics in the four existing EU macro-regions, the S3 Platform works closely with the MRS Priority Area coordinators in organising S3 seminars and workshops inviting a wide range of participants involved in the design and implementation of S3 strategies. These events provide arenas for launching a dialogue and initiating transnational multi-stakeholder consortia for developing collaboration opportunities within S3 priorities or horizontal measures to improve the national and regional RIS3s.

Events Events

Central European cooperation workshop and Watify Matchmaking Event on Industry 4.0

This event is the next thematic workshop of the Smart Specialisation Cooperation in Central Europe initiative launched by DG REGIO in 2016 and takes a...

8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

The 8th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR will held on 13 - 14 June, 2017 in Berlin. The theme of the 8th Annual Forum is connectivity which highlights the...

Synergies: Sustainable Growth in Marine and Maritime Sectors of Slovenia in the Northern Adriatic - Bluemed meeting on macro-regional level

In the context of the Bluemed initiative the Ministry of Education Science and Sport (MIZŠ) and the Marine Biology Station of the National Institute of...


An information and brokerage event related to smart specialisation and blue growth, organised by the Interreg funded project Smart Blue Regions and the...

Publications Publications

Macro-regional strategies in changing times – EUSBSR, EUSDR, EUSALP and EUSAIR headed towards the future together

Interact Programme
Interact has published the first publication to comprise all four EU macro-regional strategies. The publication offers a view of the issues concerning the...

Related Documents Related Documents

Added value of the macro-regional strategies for projects and programmes

Interact Programme
Macro-regional strategies can be driving forces for change if the right momentum is achieved. Macro-regional strategies are coordination and cooperation...

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies

European Commission
The report gives an assessment of the macro-regional strategies (MRS), evaluates state of implementation, takes stock of the main results and gives...

Commission staff working document - Accompanying the ‘Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies'

European Commission
This document supports the report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, on...