Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) in a Multi-Level Governance System in Southeastern Europe Territories: How to Manage Territorial Governance Processes in Serbia-Romania Border Space

Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) in a Multi-Level Governance System in Southeastern Europe Territories: How to Manage Territorial Governance Processes in Serbia-Romania Border Space

Ana Vulevic (Institute of Transportation-CIP, Belgrade, Serbia), Vidomir Obradovic (Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics, University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Rui Alexandre Castanho (Faculty of Applied Sciences, WSB University, Poland & Environmental Resources Analysis Research Group (ARAM), University of Extremadura, Spain) and Dragan Djordjevic (MC Transport Design and Simulation, Belgrade, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2513-5.ch004
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Abstract

Considering the actual panorama of a multi-level governance on EU, the macro-regional strategies - specifying the EU strategy for Danube region (EUSDR) fosters coordination across three dimensions: sector policies; different levels of governance from EU to regional or local, and across administrative boundaries. This chapter analyzes and assesses the ability, challenges, and obstacles of Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) strategies, projects, and programs to improve integration and cohesion peripheral territories as is the case of the border region of Romania – Serbia, enabling articulating border areas and creating synergies among them. In this regard, it will be considered the latest findings on new insights towards spatial integration in border and transnational contexts. The chapter presents some hypothesis for a good-planned, long-term sustainability for this territory and lesson learned regarding the coordination and management of policies in the EU's system of multi-level governance that could have a wider application and scope.
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Introduction

In last decades, European integration policy has helped to reduce the fragmentation of the European territory (Dominguez, & Pires, 2014). In this context, the spatial policy is an instrument serving the Union's internal and external policies and contributes directly to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy, smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Borders are the sovereign ‘interface’ between countries (Henrikson, 2010), and their degree of openness, which can change over time, depending on the situation with regard to the process of Europeanisation (Decoville, & Durand, 2017). “In strategic planning, planners need to think increasingly in terms of open, porous borders despite the fact that in concrete planning activities, politics, and governance, the region continues to exist largely in the form of bounded and territorial political units” (Paasi, & Zimmerbauer, 2015).

Although the INTERREG programs were intended to support cooperation across national boundaries, they were often criticized for creating additional boundaries through the definition of the program's areas of cooperation. In recent years, EU macro-regional strategies promote a specific approach to addressing the functional interlinkages between territories (Dühr, 2011). EU macro-regional strategies introduce a new layer of governance to the existing ‘many vehicles for multilateral cross-border cooperation already at work in the EU and broader European space’ (Dangerfield, 2009). There are four EU macro-regional strategies covering the Baltic Sea Region, Danube Region, Adriatic and Ionian Region and the Alpine Region. EUSDR (EU strategy for Danube region) was adopted in 2011 and nine EU member states are involved in the Strategy: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as five non-EU member states, Bosnia Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine. However, the challenge now lies in the implementation of the EU macro-regional strategies and their performance over a longer period of time and in the new instruments need to realize their added-value. Danube - the macro-region has been composed of 14 states of very different sizes and administrative structures, and different principles of the administrative systems, different level of governance performance which reflecting the different development paths. “Good governance” is the basis and ultimate objective for the institutional capacity building.

The countries display various institutional capacities most of them lacking the strategic and operational capacity to respond to new challenges, the involvement of civil society and other stakeholders in the decision-making processes is still limited (INTERREG, 2014, INTERACT, 2012; 2017). The approach of addressing problems in an integrated manner on a transnational level was already recognized as an efficient tool by the countries situated within the Danube river basin. Based on the experience accumulated, there are some elements of the implementation which need to be further strengthened or developed in order to enhance the operation and effectiveness of EUSDR’s governance system.

The present research aims to analyze the ability, challenges, and obstacles of strategies in coordination and governance dimension to concretely improve border integration, create synergies among them and to examine how the Europe 2020 objectives of promoting sustainable, inclusive and smart economic development can be promoted by macro-regional authorities in Serbia-Romania border space. In this regard, the present research adopts a twofold perspective, addressing both the European level and the macro-regional level coordination and governance. In this context, it will be highlighted the Romania Serbia border space because it is in the scope of the EUSDR strategy, it is the financial-economic depressed region with declining population and has complex governance arrangements. This study try to answer on some of the policy questions: How to promote sustainable and inclusive regional development strategies, taking into account the changing role of coordination and governance regional authorities and the proliferation of stakeholders in functional territories? Which are key differences between EU macro-regional strategies and transnational cooperation programs? Which are challenge and obstacles in coordination and governance dimension in Serbia-Romania border space contributing to the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth?

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