The Franco-German border: Towards a cross-border model of crisis management?

May 2020

The Franco-German border: Towards a cross-border model of crisis management?

The barriers that were put up between the two countries from the start of the health crisis have had a major impact on citizens who were used to crossing the border on a daily basis*. In this context, there have been many local cooperation initiatives and the MOT would like to highlight them.

Already on 16 March, the date on which the border between France and Germany was closed, a contact group was set up between the Grand Est Region, the regional Prefecture and the three German Länder along France’s border. The aim of the group was to be in daily contact about the restrictions on free movement and their impact on cross-border workers. The group was later expanded to include the regional health agency, the French border departments, the German health and police authorities, the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the French Interior Ministry. These daily exchanges facilitated the transfer of patients from the Grand Est Region to the neighbouring Länder. A concrete expression of multi-partner and cross-cutting communication, the setting-up of this binational group in the context of the crisis made it possible to forge a joint response to the health emergencies, while also enabling information to be passed on about the difficulties linked to crossing the border faced by economic players who found themselves on the frontline. A local contact group also involves the departments, chambers of commerce and industry and Eurodistricts. More info
Dossier de presse - Covid-19 : La sortie du confinement en Grand Est

This cooperation is occurring within the framework put in place by the Aachen Treaty and its Cross-Border Cooperation Committee, which brings together French and German players, and whose last meeting was held on 23 April, with the stated goal of: "Stepping up cross-border cooperation at the time of Covid-19 and moving together towards more Europe". More info

At a time when the easing of lockdown measures is raising thorny questions in the cross-border setting, the functioning of this crisis contact group is highlighting the ability to act urgently at the level of a shared living area rather than through predefined territorial structures. 

* As illustrated by the little border village of Scheibenhard, cut in two: see Arte's news report.

Back to list