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Territorial Cohesion and the Danube-Strategy

Johann-Jakob Wulf

Since the late 1990s, the European Union quot; driven by the Committee of Regions and the European Parliament quot; has pushed for a Territorial Agenda for itsregional and structural policies. Following a Green Book on Territorial Cohesion, the agenda was eventually introduced in 2008. Subsequently, the principle of territorialcohesion was embraced by the Treaty of Lisbon building on the goals of social and economical cohesion called upon by the Treaty of Maastricht. Although no clear-cutdefinition of territorial cohesion has been provided, it is possible to identify three components, which are a territorial, a functional and a governance component. Towardsthis background, the European Union’s Macro-regional Strategies for Baltic Sea and Danube Region, launched in 2009 and 2011 respectively, need to be conceived of as the very first attempts of the EU to instil new life into territorial cohesion. The question on the governance component, in particular, has attracted scholarly interestthus far. Macro-regional strategies are focusing on a function-driven governance model which is expected to enhance more trans-regional cooperation. It is argued thatnew patterns of organization will evolve over time. Consequently, the macro-regions will be able to strengthen their say in policy making processes on both the nationaland European levels. This paper will analyze the way the governance structure of the Danube Strategy and examine the question whether this new model of cooperationeffectively lead to territorial cohesion.

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