Macro-regions – connecting different countries brings new opportunities to the future EU
Ljubljana, 6 March 2019 – Today the closing event of the European media project Macro-regions Here and Now took place at the House of European Union.
Slovenia is the only member of the EU with its entire territory lying at the junction of three macro-regions: Adriatic-Ionian, Alpine and Danube. With the aim to present stories of people living in this areas, has RTV Slovenia - national public broadcasting organization, in cooperation with the European Commission, approached the media project Macro-regions Here and Now. Within which 25 short broadcasts, three 20-minutes long broadcasts presenting individual regions and the final 50-minutes long compilation were produced, presenting the stories of linking ideas, people and countries within the three macro-regions.
The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) participated in the search and development of presented stories. As its representative Dimitrij Pur, Director of the European Territorial Cooperation and Financial Mechanism Office, pointed out, narratives of individuals in the broadcasts prove that connecting different countries brings new horizons and opportunities in the light of the future EU to anyone involved.
While implementing past programming period's cohesion policy new forms of territorial cooperation emerged with tailored responses to macro-regional challenges. Based on that, European Commission prepared two macro-regional strategies - for the Baltic Sea Region and the Danube Region, with a later extension to additional two strategies - for the Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine Regions. Slovenia is the only country involved in the implementation of three out of four: the Danube, Alpine and Adriatic-Ionian.
»Although the common goals, designed by all EU member states, strive for the sustainable development of all regions, it often turns out that we could be more effective,« was explained by Dimitrij Pur. As he said, there are still common challenges, which concern only some geographical environments, for which common European policy is not efficient enough and because some countries face challenges, which exceed national borders. He emphasized that this was the reason why Macro-regional strategies were created. »All partners in a particular geographical area are following the same goals, irrespective of cultural, economic, social and political diversity, that's the extraordinary added value of this strategies. The other reason is also in equal involvment of the non-EU member states, which does a significant contribution to the enlargement processes and to sharing useful knowledge and experiences,« added Pur. This integrations bring new chances to successful presentation of countries' interests across borders in a macro-regional territory. Cooperation is not something self-evident, that would happen completely automatically, but needs a desire to overcome mediocrity. »Collaboration does not just happen - it builds up through the time. Today's event, however, proves that input into cooperation is rewarding, since it brings more ideas and sustainable solutions to the table,« continued Pur.
He said that in the framework of the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-regional strategy, Slovenia was also entrusted with the leadership of a strategic partnership to support the integration processes in the Adriatic-Ionian region. His colleagues on the project, together with their project partners from other countries, are organising national and international events aimed at creating a common voice of the region and developing common project ideas. The process also makes an important contribution to the integration of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Albania into European Union. Within the project GODC is also responsible for the region’s communication point, website, social networks, media campaigns and other activities related to the common communication strategy.
Staša Mesec, head of the EUSAIR Facility Point project, explained the interest of the partnership in presenting the stories, that were created in the framework of the project Macro-regions Here and Now, in a wider area. Mainly because they display the importance of cooperation and integration of stakeholders in different countries with common goals in a fresh and innovative manner. »We would like to be able to present these stories at the 4th EUSAIR Forum, which will take place in Montenegro on 7-8 May 2019. Whereas the newly gained knowledge of journalists, which were involved in this project, we would be happy to convey and transfer to young people as part of the workshops held back to back to the Forum.«
The event was organized by RTV Slovenia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (coordinator of the EU Macro-regional strategies for Slovenia) and the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (EUSAIR Facility Point) with the aim of exchanging views on the opportunities, which macro-regions bring to European citizens in Slovenia, as well as in the whole EU.