EU macro-regional strategies

A ‘Macro-regional strategy’ is an integrated framework endorsed by the European Council, which may be supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds among others, to address common challenges faced by a defined geographical area relating to Member States and third countries located in the same geographical area which thereby benefit from strengthened cooperation contributing to achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion.

European Commission

At this stage, there are four EU macro-regional strategies covering the Baltic Sea Region, Danube Region, Adriatic and Ionian Region and the Alpine Region. Each strategy is supported by a transnational cooperation programme operating in the same cooperation area. The video below shows key differences between EU macro-regional strategies and transnational cooperation programmes.

EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region – EUSAIR

The EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region is an innovative concept concerning territorial development when dealing with the challenges and opportunities of a specific geographical area.

It is built on four thematic pillars that have been identified as crucial for the Adriatic and Ionian region. Each pillar consists of topics, which represent the main areas where the macro-regional strategy can contribute to considerable improvements.

ADRION goals and objectives are directly linked with those of EUSAIR. Additionally, its priority axis No 4 supports the EUSAIR governance.


Blue  Growth

It encourages innovative and maritime growth by promoting sustainable economic development and job creation as well as business opportunities. In doing so, three topics have been identified:

  • Blue technologies
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Maritime and marine governance and services

Connecting the Region

The pillar intends to improve transport and energy connectivity; by strengthening maritime safety and security and developing a port system; creating reliable transport networks and intermodal connections with the hinterland; and establishing a well-interconnected and well-functioning internal energy market.

To achieve these objectives, the pillar places an emphasis on:

  • Maritime transport
  • Intermodal connections to the hinterland
  • Energy networks

Environmental Quality

It strives to ensure the economic and social well-being of people of the Adriatic and Ionian region. This pillar addresses common challenges, focusing on:

  • Marine environment:
  • Pollution of the sea
  • Transnational terrestrial habitats and biodiversity

Sustainable Tourism

The focus is on developing the potential of the Adriatic and Ionian region by offering innovative and quality tourism products and services. Responsible tourism behaviour involving all actors involved in the sector is also important. To achieve the objectives of this pillar, the importance is put on:

  • Diversified tourism offer and
  • Sustainable and responsible tourism management

Participating countries

The geographical area of the EUSAIR is a functional area, mainly defined by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It covers four EU Member States and four non-EU countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

The participation of each country includes its whole territory, except for Italy, which involves 12 regions and 2 provinces: Abruzzo, Molise, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and Marche.