The Rise of Macro-Regions in Europe

  • Franziska Sielker
  • Daniel Rauhut
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The term “macro-region” is a political construct, mainly discussed in EU policy documents. The definition of a macro-region is deliberately vague and fuzzy, allowing for a diverse set up of governance arrangements and topics to be addressed. We identify three main trajectories of the rise of macro-regions in Europe: the development of European integration and an increasing focus on Cohesion and Regional policies; the changed geopolitical situation following European enlargements in 2004 and 2007; and the pre-existence of different forms of cooperation within these perimeters. Macro-regional cooperation has not initially generated new EU institutions, new EU legislation or new EU funding, but despite or maybe because of these constraints, macro-regions have attained considerable political commitment. A committee of representatives of the partner countries steers the overall progress of the macro-regions and acts as the decision-making body to guide their general direction. The potential avenues for the future of macro-regions are not clear.


EU Macro-regions European Union Cohesion Policy Transnational Cooperation Territorial Cooperation Territorial Governance 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Land EconomyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Karelian InstituteUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland

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