MRS in a Europe closer to citizens
The Cohesion policy objective No. 5 for the funding period 2021-2027 aims at empowering citizens and civil society through projects. The main principle is to implement and integrated territorial approach following the models of ITI (Integrated Territorial Investment) and CLLD (Community-Led Local Development). It encompasses both urban and rural areas through local initiatives.
This policy objective is closely linked to the political priority of the Van der Leyen Commission “A new Push for European Democracy”, which also targets the closer involvement of civil society into European affairs.
In contrast to the four more sectorial oriented policy objectives, this policy objective follows genuinely integrated approach. To this end, it is not specific thematic foci of macro-regions that contribute to achieving a Europe closer to the citizens. Rather, the integrated approach of macro-regional strategies, which allows through its governance structure a close cooperation across territories and policy fields, provides in itself an important backbone to this goal. Further, the different MRS have identified their own mechanisms to involve Civil Society. In the Danube Region for example the Danube Participation Day is traditionally accompanying the Annual Forum. Macro-regions provide a spatial imaginary to citizens, offering an additional level of identity building in Europe.