For more than a decade the EU Macro-Regional Strategies (MRS) have been proving a successful way of improving the integration, cohesive development and trans-national cooperation of large regions across national borders in Europe. The implementation in terms of their long-term focus, the complexity of stakeholders and governance structures, also show that the MRS implementation process needs a dedicated support connecting the dots, keep an eye on the developments across the different stakeholder levels (EU, national, regional).
A joint, targeted and streamlined implementation of MRS therefore requires technical and strategic guidance and support. For this purpose, the Supporting Units (SUs) were established in all 4 MRS to support the key stakeholders, governance structures and the overall coordination of the implementation of the MRS.
For the first time, representatives of all 4 Supporting Units met during a joint session organised within #EUMRSWeek 2023 to jointly share achievements and future plans as well as to exchange experiences with the audience. 2023 is for the Supporting units also the year when new implementation formats of the MRS start.
Please find below the #EUSDR Danube Strategy Point’s contribution in sharing its experience in skilling EUSDR stakeholders to almost 70 participants:
In the EU Strategy for the Danube Region 14 countries – that’s 9 EU and 5 non-EU participating states – are cooperating in a policy framework to address common challenges that cannot be solved by a country on its own.
Now you can imagine, with 14 EU and non-EU countries and numerous different actors at different levels, changes in personnel and shifts in responsibilities are often experienced. And this can of course hinder or even stop the implementation process – if the transfer of tasks and roles is inadequate or does not take place at all.
So, could we support the implementation process by ensuring that new stakeholders are equipped with the necessary knowledge and support to seamlessly start their work in the Strategy?
As an MRS Supporting Unit, we launched the so-called ‘Unfolding EUSDR’ workshop series and a tool-kit for (especially non-EU) newcomers to the Strategy.
The workshops, scheduled for two hours in an online format, are designed to be very open and informal for smaller groups (that means a maximum 10 persons) of the same stakeholder group (for example EUSDR Presidency, National Coordination, Thematic Coordination). They are offered on demand of the stakeholders. Because we need to match the intense agenda of our participants, and offer targeted answers to their specific challenges when joining macro-regional strategies.
Therefore, in the run-up to the Unfolding EUSDR workshops, we first ask about the needs of the stakeholders and what the biggest challenges were when stakeholders started working with the Strategy. This helps us to address the specific requirements and questions and to design the workshops accordingly.
Together with the tool-kit ‘The ABC of Macro Regional Strategies’ we introduce the stakeholders in the workshops to the roles and responsibilities of the respective stakeholder groups (the who does what) along the most important publications and basic documents (like our EUSDR Action Plan). Because this helps the stakeholders to get a comprehensive overview of the complex macro-regional strategies. Finally, the participants work out specific fields of action and activities in a group, which simplify the concrete implementation in their respective work areas in their day-to-day work.
In the last two years we conducted Unfolding EUSDR Workshops for two EUSDR Presidencies and stakeholders from seven Thematic Areas, which got such a good response that we are also offering it in the new work plan. And also other MRS are showing interest in the concept.
We work every day to support EUSDR stakeholders in their start into the Strategy to make MRS more attractive for all.