Do Euroregions Have a Future? Strategy-Making and Policy Delivery in Multi-Area Euroregions

Beatrix Haselsberger, Paul Benneworth

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    The main purpose of this paper is to make a substantial contribution to past, present and future debates about the “Europe of the Euroregions” by highlighting the challenges and difficulties involved in building mutual understanding across (national) borders. The idea of building mutual understanding that leads to reciprocal trust and consequently provides the very basis for strategy-making and policy delivery in a cross-border context is not a new one. Using the Austrian-Italian-Slovenian case, the paper demonstrates that some essential aspects are still not achieving the attention required when dealing with “multi-area Euroregions”. The added value of defining and analyzing the socially rooted and culturally embedded meaning of spatial planning as well as understanding the “region” phenomenon in different planning cultures and traditions and the translation of what this means in an EU sense is examined from this perspective. Building on the evidence drawn from the Austrian-Italian-Slovenian case, the paper explores a possible direction for building up effective long-lasting forms of cross-border cooperation throughout Europe through an innovative approach that is defined here as the Euroregional Planning Approach. In this context, it needs to be underlined that the Euroregional planning scale (Fabbro 2010) is not so much a reference to the formal concept of a Euroregion in the European Union but rather should be understood as a reference to the more complex planning practice that is required to realize stable forms of territorial cooperation between multi-area regions throughout Europe that are characterized by strong historical and cultural differences (Haselsberger 2010a). Therefore, this paper proposes two essential preconditions for and steps towards the successful overcoming of negative border effects and the subsequent establishment of “soft spaces” of interaction within the multi-area Euroregions of the 21st century. This perspective consists of two interrelated spatial thoughts:

    • The Euroregional Planning Avenue deals with the recognition and proper understanding of different planning cultures and traditions, which is considered an essential success criteria not only for the emergence, but also for the durability of multi-area Euroregions.

    • The Euroregional Political Avenue is grounded in the idea of establishing joint cooperation and governance platforms and equipping multi-area Euroregions with the institutional thickness required for strategy-making and policy delivery.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)80-94
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • METIS-274835


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