The current Cohesion Policy encourages regions and Member States to build regional coalitions to support the creation of new European value chains, in areas associated with strategic growth. To support this goal, starting in 2015, the European Commission services launched three thematic smart specialisation (S3) platforms. New partnership for sustainable blue economy has been launched in 2022. These platforms have been put in place to provide an interactive and participatory environment supporting interregional cooperation in the context of smart specialisation areas related to Agri-Food, Energy and Industrial Modernisation and Blue Economy.
In particular, the thematic S3 platforms are contributing to building an increasing number of interregional partnerships across the EU. These collaborative networks have the ultimate goal of establishing European ecosystems for transnational and interregional collaboration in regions and countries with similar or complementary S3 priorities. Together, partner regions analyse and tackle various obstacles related to the implementation of their smart specialisation strategies. Thematic partnerships help regions to improve their regional knowledge base, leading to new paths of development and a better position in global value chains and to transnational joint strategies of innovation.
The thematic platforms offer a structure to exploit synergies across partnerships and across sectors. These platforms are joint initiatives, managed and coordinated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), with the support of several EC's Directorates-General including Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO), Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI); Energy (ENER); Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW), Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE) and Research and Innovation (RTD). In addition, to get a wider view for cooperation, interactions with other EU initiatives (such as the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform, European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and the KICs) are also developed.