Dominik Aziewicz


EU macro-regional strategies for the Baltic Sea Region after 2020. A nutshell of beauty and possibilities

Jacek Zaucha, Dorota Pyć, Kai Böhme, Lilia Neumann, Dominik Aziewicz

Europa XXI (2020) vol. 38, pp. 51-76 | Full text
citation: Zaucha, J., Pyć, D., Böhme, K., Neumann, L., & Aziewicz, D. (2020). EU macro-regional strategies for the Baltic Sea Region after 2020. A nutshell of beauty and possibilities. Europa XXI, 38, 51-76.

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The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, that celebrates this year in Gdańsk its tenth anniversary, has been considered by many scholars and the decision makers as the model exam-ple of the soft governance that has gained in importance in the enlarged European Union (EU). The pa-per analyses the achievements and shortcomings of the Strategy from economic perspective with focus on externalities, public goods (also club goods, common-pool resources), economies of scale and scope and transaction costs. Two cases: Single Market for services and innovation spillovers are discussed more in depth. The analysis of these challenges and opportunities as well as the performance of the Strategy in the past and comparative analysis of its various evaluations allow authors to formulate several assump-tions that should save the Strategy for the future. Their essence is related to mainstreaming of the Strate-gy into the EU and national policies (ensuring its stronger policy impact), strengthening strategic, visionary approach of the Strategy (e.g. facilitating large Baltic projects), better alignment with the business sector activities (understanding and addressing this sector expectations towards macro-regional co-operation) and acknowledgement of macro-regional solidarity as a foundation of the common efforts. Without  all these, the Strategy might follow the case of the Baltic Development Forum that ceased to exist despite its evident positive effects for the entire region. Soft governance is difficult but promising as an alterna-tive to the overgrowing sentiments towards centralisation. Thus, to avoid the impression of the 'Titanic ball' Gdańsk celebrations should provide a new start instead of the business as usual and manifestation of shallow self-satisfaction.

Keywords: macro-regional strategies, Baltic Sea Region, INTERREG

Jacek Zaucha [], Faculty of Economics, University of Gdańsk
Dorota Pyć [], Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk
Kai Böhme [], Spatial Foresight
Lilia Neumann [], Faculty of Economics, University of Gdańsk
Dominik Aziewicz [], Faculty of Economics, University of Gdańsk