Luxembourg presidency, European Commission and Committee of the Regions in unison to strengthen cross-border cooperation

September 2015

Luxembourg presidency, European Commission and Committee of the Regions in unison to strengthen cross-border cooperation

Meeting in Luxembourg on 2 September 2015, the members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) called on the EU to step-up its efforts to strengthen cross-border cooperation. The discussions took place within the framework of the work currently being carried out under Luxembourg's presidency.

"Cross-border must evolve as a "territorial opportunity" rather than being seen as a "geopolitical handicap", underlined the CoR's President, Markku Markkula.

Speaking on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of Council of the EU, Camille Gira – State Secretary for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure - proposed that European instruments supporting cross-border cooperation be developed, "so that specific legal provisions can be applied in border regions with a view to the implementation of projects or strategies which could not be achieved under disparate legal systems."

He recalled that the Luxembourg presidency is currently working – with support from the MOT* – on a new "pragmatic" instrument and a "legal framework to boost cross-border cooperation" through the adoption of legal provisions specific to border territories. This proposal has been submitted for an opinion from the CoR, which will adopt a report on the subject at its plenary session in October. According to Camille Gira, EGTCs constitute "soft" cooperation and the objective is to go further: "As soon as you want to build even the most minor infrastructure, you come up against several problems," he stressed, citing the example of the construction of a French-Luxembourg wastewater treatment plant.
More info

The debate took place ahead of the 25th anniversary of INTERREG. Within this context, the CoR members adopted a Declaration:  "25 years of Interreg: new impetus for cross-border cooperation".

CoR sets up an interregional group on cross-border cooperation

On 7 July 2015 at the 161st meeting of its Bureau, the CoR set up an interregional group devoted to cross-border cooperation, whose aim is to influence European policy in this area, to share experiences and to contribute to discussions on the future of cohesion policy. The MOT's President, Michel Delebarre, will participate in it. More info

Consultation by the European Commission

Within the framework of these common objectives, on 21 September the Commission launched a wide public consultation on the remaining obstacles to cross border cooperation. More info

* View the study commissioned by the Luxembourg presidency from the MOT in this context: "Cross-border Cooperation: Obstacles to Overcome".

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