Editorial by Anne Sander, MEP, Vice-President of the MOT.
Editorial by Anne Sander, MEP, Vice-President of the MOT.
With the support of the MOT, Lille, Strasbourg and Nice are the three French border region metropolises that have embarked on drawing up a "Schéma de cooperation transfrontalière" (Cross-Border Cooperation Strategie, CCS), introduced by the Maptam Act* in 2014. Through its network, the MOT enables the three metropolises to share experiences and information regarding their methodologies, the obstacles encountered and the local political contexts, as well as to relay their needs to the national and European authorities.
The Strasbourg Eurometropolis has launched a project aimed at recovering the heat produced by the Kehl steelworks in order to provide energy for 4,000 households in Strasbourg within two years. This innovative project is a first in Europe at the cross-border level.
A report on border cities in West Africa has just been published in the OECD’s series "West Africa Papers" on the Sahel and West Africa. Made up of four papers, the "cities" collection is the fruit of systematic analysis of the role played by border cities in the regional integration process in West Africa.
A range of researchers and practitioners combine their observations in order to elaborate a common analytical framework for cross-border cooperation in Europe, by offering a transdisciplinary scientific approach. Jean Peyrony, the MOT’s Director-General, contributed to the publication by writing the chapter entitled “Planning across borders - space, time and narratives”.
On 14-15 May, at the invitation of the Pas-de-Calais Department, 24 territorial authorities that border on 11 European straits gathered in Boulogne-sur-Mer. The purpose: to take stock of ten years of working together within the European Straits Initiative.
The MOT took part in this seminar organised by the Kehl Euro-Institut, in Strasbourg on 14 May. It was an opportunity for local, national and European players to exchange views on how to "better communicate between the different levels on cross-border issues".
On 9 May 2019, Europe Day, the Moselle Department asked for an expansion of its competences on account of its specific location within the territory of the Greater Region, in order to foster closer links, greater effectiveness and simplified partnerships with its European neighbours.
On 2 May 2019, the Lille European Metropolis and the Brussels-Capital Region signed a cooperation agreement in order to reinforce exchanges between the two metropolises, on topics such as accessibility, spatial planning, attractiveness, tourism and culture.
The MOT took part in the conference to mark the 10th anniversary of CESCI, a structure that was set up based on the MOT’s model in Hungary in 2009. The conference in Budapest brought together nearly 150 researchers and practitioners in the cross-border field from around 20 countries.
The only border that exists in the Grand Est is that which we have “in our hearts”. It is part of our emotional relationship to our history, now turned towards the future, in which on a daily basis we shape a territory that is open in all directions, open to the need to cultivate our differences as they are an asset, and open to cooperation in all areas: be it providing responses to the challenges of AI, research programmes or university projects; or be it encouraging young people to become multilingual, bringing a railway line back to life, building a cycle path or developing an area of countryside working together in a network – because it’s above all a story of human beings.
In spite of its small surface area, the Grand Duchy continues to attract skills from all over Europe. A symbolic milestone was passed in 2018, when the number of commuters reached 100,000. This is the count of French cross-border workers who every day make the journey to this country located at the heart of European exchanges. This figure will rise to close to 150,000 over the next 15 years.
The cross-border territory of the “High Valleys” is located in the heart of the Alps, between Savoie, Piedmont and the High Alps. It consists of 13 groups of municipalities, 147 rural mountain districts and 270,753 inhabitants spread over 6,350 km2. A cross-border strategy "The High Valleys – Smart Destination" was drawn up in order to group together the common development priorities for the coming years.
Within the framework of the Interreg “Greater Region Territorial Development Plan” project, the Greater Region Executives Summit have laid the political groundwork for the drawing-up of a common cross-border territorial strategy for the Greater Region partners.
The Strasbourg Eurometropolis’s Development Council has conducted a survey of citizens on well-being across the whole of the cross-border metropolis. The survey is entitled “How are you?”.
At the end of 2017, 24,200 employees living in the Hauts-de-France Region worked abroad, principally in Belgium. They represent 1.6% of the region’s employees – five times less than in the Grand Est Region. Less favourable employment conditions, particularly with respect to tax, have now made Belgium less attractive than in the past.
The EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" (EURES axis) is launching a call for proposals regarding “Cross-border partnerships and support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for EEA countries and social partners". The deadline is 6 June 2019.
Following the departure of Olivier Denert, the MOT was pleased to welcome on 15 April its new Secretary-General into the technical team: Aurélien Biscaut, former Director of the North Lorraine Urban Planning Agency (Agape).
The latest publication by the French Network of Urban Planning Agencies (FNAU), entitled "L'Europe par les territoires" (“Europe by its territories”) feeds into the debate about Europe and provides different views on the issues relating to cohesion policy and the way in which cities and territories have appropriated the European ideal and the tools of this policy. The MOT contributed to it and several cross-border territories are showcased in it.
The magazine "Intercommunalités" of the Assemblée des Communautés de France (AdCF – Assembly of France’s Communities) has published in its issue 238 an article written by the MOT: "Concevoir les services publics transfrontaliers" ("Designing cross-border public services").
On 7 July 2016 the MOT and Grenoble-Alpes University held at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris a policy forum entitled “Sécurité et développement: comment gérer la frontière ?”, within the framework of an international research project "Borders in Globalization" ("BIG"). The proceedings are now available (in French).
Since a study by DG REGIO on the topic in 2018, the importance of “Missing Railway Links” for cohesion policy and the development of border regions disadvantaged by a lack of rail infrastructure has been highlighted. In this context, the PAMINA Eurodistrict EGTC held a conference on 11 April in collaboration with the Committee of the Regions.
"In the run-up to the European elections, our work has taken on particular significance. The risk of a low turnout is encouraging us even more to continue our work of persuading our fellow citizens that they should make their voices heard regarding the kind of Europe they would like to see. The projects that were presented to us in Geneva and Annemasse, reflecting the progress in Franco-German cooperation, are exemplary. They show the way we are seeking to promote: a Europe made of concrete actions, at the service of its citizens; a Europe of territories."
Around Robert Herrmann, the MOT’s President and President of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis, the representatives of the French Government at the MOT’s general assembly emphasised the favourable political context for cross-border cooperation. According to Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, Ambassador for Cooperation and Border Issues at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the cross-border dimension is now “at the heart of the French Government’s concerns”.
The network’s bodies approved the 2018 activity and financial reports, the 2019 work programme and the joining of two new members: the Saint-Avold Synergy Conurbation Community and the French Mountaineering Clubs Federation.