The urban dimension in EU macro-regional strategies: City networking and its contribution to macro-regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region

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Cities are increasingly being recognised as both actors in and subjects to European policy making. They use city networks to share their knowledge and to be able to represent their interests with a united voice in the European policy making arena. The EU macro-regional strategies are a relatively new political project aiming at coordinating and strengthen transnational cooperation in specific geographical areas. They require the involvement of existing institutions and forms of cooperation, which include city networks as well, in order to realise their goals. However, the question occurs whether macro-regional strategies are able to activate cities as actors within their processes. This thesis wants to find out about how a city network in the Baltic Sea Region, the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC), is contributing to the processes of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Reflecting on concepts of European Territorial Cooperation and macro-regional strategies, the thesis focuses on the specific situation of transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. As a supporting theoretical framework, the concepts of Europeanization and multi-level governance are used. The findings of the thesis are based on qualitative interviews with actors of the UBC and an analysis of policy documents.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen