Finalisation of the report of the cross-border obstacles working groupJune 2017
On 30 May 2017 at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, the fifth meeting of the intergovernmental working group on innovative solutions to obstacles to cross-border cooperation was held.
Following on from Luxembourg's proposal in 2015 concerning the creation of a new European legal tool, the European Cross-Border Convention (ECBC), the group's objective was to continue with work in this direction.
This meeting, in which the MOT, in its capacity as secretary of the working group co-chaired by France and Luxembourg, took part, made it possible to finalise the working group's report.
To this end, various discussions took place aimed at having a better understanding of the tool in order to be able to send the findings of the group's work to the European Commission. The latter will then have to decide on the follow-up to the proposal in its communication on the Cross-Border Review scheduled for September 2017 and will be follow by a european conference in Brussels, 20 and 21 September 2017.
In addition to the proposal for a new legal tool and the proposal to create a multilevel European platform for the resolution of obstacles to cooperation, the meeting was also an opportunity to present different case studies in order to gain a better understanding of the tool and its value added.
While the importance and benefits of cross-border cooperation were highlighted again, the persistence of obstacles, the real heart of the problem and subject of the work undertaken, stimulated many further discussions. The presentation of case studies during the meeting was thus a chance to underscore the need to pursue the work on cross-border obstacles.
Lastly, the meeting highlighted the consensus among the working group's members on the new tool as the "missing piece" in the range of mechanisms aimed at overcoming obstacles. It is important to act at all levels: on each border (example of the final report on the updating process of the work of the Franco-Belgian parliamentary working group – see page 4), at national level in coordination with neighbouring countries (example of the forum developed by the MOT); and at European level, with a multilevel platform designed to develop synergies between these different actions.