Greater Geneva - A special dossier: Interview with Anna-Karina Kolb, Director of the External and Federal Department of the Republic and Canton of GenevaMarch 2019
What is the contribution made by Greater Geneva?
Greater Geneva is the current tool for constructing our natural cross-border shared living area. With the increase in flows in our region, we needed to move up a gear regarding issues of mobility and sustainable management of the territory. The Greater Geneva conurbation project enables the Swiss and French partners to jointly draw up an action plan, and to seek funding from national and European authorities. It brings together the energies and ambitions from the different sides, and provides a flexible framework both for concrete actions and to discuss issues for the future.
How can social cohesion be fostered in the cross-border area?
While our region enjoys a very favourable position in terms of jobs and quality of life, price levels and a highly competitive job market do not benefit all of its inhabitants. Until now, differences in wage levels and regulations between Switzerland and France have made it very difficult to develop common tools to foster cohesion. But many cross-border initiatives contain a cohesion dimension: this is the case for collaborations in the areas of security and culture.
What are the developments in Swiss federal policy in the areas of cross-border cooperation and cross-border investment?
In a federal country like Switzerland, competence for cross-border cooperation is exercised by the cantons. The Confederation supports the cantons financially in their conurbation projects. Its funding crosses its borders with respect to projects that have an impact on the Geneva region such as the Annemasse and St-Julien tramlines. It also contributes to the co-financing of many Interreg projects for Greater Geneva.
What are the current cross-border issues in terms of Switzerland’s bilateral relations with the EU?
The current discussion on the framework agreement with the EU has a direct bearing on the cross-border region. With 650,000 crossings of the border a day and 120,000 commuters, Greater Geneva can only exist within a framework of free movement of people and goods that is secure and stable.
Read the other articles of the special dossier on the Greater Geneva:
- Greater Geneva
- Editorial from Christian Dupessey, Mayor of Annemasse, President of Annemasse Agglo, Vice-President of the MOT and Jean Denais, Mayor of Thonon-les-Bains, President of the Metropolitan Pole of the French Genevois
- Cross-border employment: the point of view of Michel Charrat, President of the European Cross-Border Grouping