Editorial by Jacqueline Gourault, French Minister of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities

December 2020

Editorial by Jacqueline Gourault, French Minister of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities

Having for centuries been areas of expectations, fears and conflict, European borders are now the subject of a Forum. It is a fine symbol. In these difficult times, solutions can only come from our ability to make cross-border areas places of convergence, trust and partnership.

We need to further intensify cross-border cooperation over the coming months and years. To do this, we have created frameworks to help us formulate common assessments and to have a joint strategy, as is the case with the EUSALP, the macro-regional strategy for the whole of the Alps, the Aachen Treaty, or the Commission’s proposed regulation on the European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM) aimed at overcoming cross-border obstacles. This is what enables us to devise appropriate responses for the needs of cross-border territories, especially since they are, owing to their many specificities, areas that are particularly well-suited to the territorial action that we have embarked on over the past three years, on the initiative of the President of the Republic: “bespoke”, or “hand-sewn” action, as I like to call it.

Cross-border territories are “scale 1” laboratories in the next stage of decentralisation that I am advocating: that of enabling experimentation, which opens the way to differentiation. It is no coincidence that our principal success so far has occurred in a cross-border setting, with the creation of the European Territorial Authority of Alsace. This differentiation satisfies the need for both effectiveness and proximity expressed by players in the territories; it will give them the means to be more dynamic and more “elastic”.

We are going to enshrine differentiation in two pieces of legislation: the bill approved by the Senate, which will facilitate experiments and open the way to sustainable differentiation; then in January 2021, the so-called “3D” bill, in which we will enshrine the three principles of differentiation, decentralisation and deconcentration.

In order to realise these ambitions and joint strategies, we have put in place powerful support tools. It was to this end that we set up the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT): in order to encourage the emergence of projects very concretely and above all to provide the necessary technical assistance to enable their implementation. And to deliver this “bespoke” assistance, the ANCT teams already know they can count on the MOT to enhance their actions.

Faced with today’s challenges, which are huge, it is more necessary than ever to work together, in a spirit of mutual understanding, for the benefit of our citizens, whom we wish to put at the heart of cross-border initiatives, in the run-up to France’s presidency of the European Union in 2022.

More info - Read the article: "Incorporating the cross-border dimension into the “3D” bill: the MOT mobilises together with its network".


Photo: Eric Robert

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