Adoption of the Communication “Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions”September 2017
On 20 and 21 September 2017 in Brussels, a conference was held to mark the adoption of the Communication entitled “Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions”.
Opened by Commissioner Cretu and the President of the Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the conference brought together 200 participants, including numerous representatives of cross-border territories, of states, and services of the Commission concerned with cooperation (in addition to DG REGIO, the directorates in charge of employment, education, the internal market, communications networks, content and technologies, health, transport,...)*. While cross-border territories represent 40% of the territory of the European Union, they are confronted with numerous challenges. Access to public services such as hospitals and universities is often lacking in border regions. People, businesses and public authorities in border regions are confronted with specific difficulties as a result of the different administrative and legal systems. In order to remedy these difficulties, which cannot be dealt with through subsidies like Interreg, the Communication proposes a series of new concrete actions to help border regions to cooperate, to reduce obstacles, and to allow citizens and cross-border players to exploit the potential of these regions.
The resolution of border problems is a complex process requiring the involvement of different types of players. While the impact of obstacles is felt locally, the solutions are rarely found at this level, and require a coordination of players at the level of national governments and administrations.
The Communication underlines the manner in which the EU and the Member States can reduce the complexity, the duration and the costs of cross-border interaction, and promotes the mutualisation of services along internal borders. By way of examples and good practice, the document gives an overview of the measures being implemented by the European Commission, the national institutions and cross-border players.
Among these examples, the “European Cross-Border Convention” (ECBC) tool, proposed by the Intergovernmental Working Group on innovative solutions to cross-border obstacles following the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will be taken into consideration by the Commission.
The Communication also contributes to the reflection process initiated with the White Paper on the future of Europe, by publishing recommendations that facilitate cooperation and help citizens and businesses in border areas to exploit the full potential of these regions.
It proposes an ensemble of actions aimed at tackling certain legal and administrative barriers that currently prevent closer cooperation and interaction. A “Border Focal Point” will be created within the Commission. To encourage regular dialogue on cross-border issues and to ensure the sharing of good practice, the creation of an online professional network spanning the EU, will provide national and regional authorities with advice for tackling legal and administrative obstacles on borders. A call for pilot projects will be launched before the end of 2017 for public authorities that wish to overcome border problems of a legal nature. The reduction of cross-border obstacles contributes to both the socio-economic development and the integration of border regions.
The Communication is accompanied by a working document that presents the key concepts and the process of the “Cross-Border Review”, in which the MOT has been directly involved. This document provides additional information on the difficulties encountered by EU border regions and their societal impact, and adds to the actions proposed in the Communication with other analyses and concrete examples.
* More info : https://livestream.com/accounts/17747386/events/7721791