Chapter 24: New strategic approaches to territorial cooperation in Europe: from Euro-regions to European Groupings for Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) and macro-regional strategies
Territorial cooperation in Europe – involving both subnational and national authorities in matters of practical cooperation across borders – has grown constantly with the process of European integration. It has prompted very different organisational forms and functions over time including, for example, city twinning, Euro-regions and, more recently, macro-regions, as well as European Groupings for Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs). These institutional frameworks are increasingly integrated as tools for implementing European Union (EU) Cohesion Policy. Moreover, they have been framed as important factors contributing to broader EU policy objectives, such as fostering innovation and sustainable economic growth. This chapter first reviews the development and institutionalisation of the so-called Euro-regions; and second, it explores recent trends in European territorial cooperation, such as the establishment of EGTCs and the adoption of EU Macro-Regional Strategies (EUMRS) in particular. The core of the analysis is devoted to the emergence, organisational structure and effects of EGTCs and EUMRS in the framework of territorial cooperation in Europe. Rather than being exclusively concerned with the creation of functional entities inside the EU, it is demonstrated that both EGTCs and EUMRS seek to underwrite existing forms of territorial cooperation by devising comprehensive strategic – and in the case of the EGTC, legal – agreements in order to foster coordination and coherence across the multilevel governance system of the European Union.
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