Macro-regions: regional integration within and beyond the EU

Nico Groenendijk

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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This paper focuses on three European macro-regions: the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), the –revamped- Benelux, and the Danube Region (DR). It makes a comparative analysis of these three schemes of regional integration within (and in some cases beyond) the EU. The paper discusses literature on differentiated integration as well as literature on (old and new) regionalism and territorial governance. It develops an analytical framework which involves various aspects of differentiation/regionalization: time, matter, drivers for differentiation and /or regionalization, membership, institutions, decision-making, and modes of governance. Through desk-research (policy documents, websites, and earlier research) the framework is applied to the three macro-regions at hand. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the macro-regional strategies for the BSR and DR are almost identical, that the Benelux is different from the other two macro-regions, but that there also is some convergence, with the Benelux becoming more open and process-oriented, and the BSR and DR being effectively institutionalized by the EU. Rather than being a threat to European integration, the macro-regional strategies of the EU have essentially strengthened its position.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2013
Event21st NISPAcee Annual Conference 2013: Regionalisation and Inter-regional Cooperation - University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Duration: 16 May 201318 May 2013
Conference number: 21


Conference21st NISPAcee Annual Conference 2013
Internet address


  • METIS-295850
  • IR-85546

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