Let’s support the setting-up of an intergroup on cross-border issues at the European Parliament

June 2019

Let’s support the setting-up of an intergroup on cross-border issues at the European Parliament

Editorial by Anne Sander, MEP, Vice-President of the MOT.

"The European elections showed that people have great expectations with regard to Europe. More than ever, it needs to be concrete, effective and democratic. This is the face of Europe that the next European Parliament must undertake to shape. Cross-border territories have a key role to play in building this Europe as they make it visible and tangible for its citizens.

The working group on cross-border cooperation, which was set up on my arrival at the European Parliament, has been a highly effective platform for exchanges between European, national and local elected representatives and practitioners, technicians and private players. It has provided a unique opportunity to relay the concerns of people on the ground to lawmakers and to ensure that better account is taken of the cross-border dimension in all aspects of European policy. During this new parliamentary term, we will continue and step up this work, by seeking to set up a parliamentary intergroup specifically dedicated to defending the interests of border territories.

I am therefore calling on all those who champion the cross-border and European cause to join us in this project.

For the 2021-2027 period, many areas remain in which cross-border cooperation needs to be reinforced and this will require strong support from the European Parliament. First of all, we must mobilise to ensure that Interreg funding is maintained to enable cross-border projects to be carried out. The challenge will also be to ensure that the new, innovative mechanism, the ECBM, aimed at facilitating the structuring of cross-border projects, by applying the legislation of a neighbouring country in one’s territory, is ambitious in its implementation. The European Parliament will also need to continue its efforts to take better account of cross-border issues in all of its actions.

The Aachen Treaty represents an important step forward for cross-border cooperation for the benefit of citizens along the Franco-German border. For the first time, a Treaty acknowledges cross-border cooperation, with a chapter specifically devoted to it, and it provides for the setting-up of a binational cross-border cooperation committee. I am very happy about the creation of this committee, which is also transposable to other borders, and with which it will be crucial to forge close links as overcoming cross-border obstacles requires a multi-level approach. Lastly, the Treaty provides a favourable framework for the future European Territorial Authority of Alsace.

Thanks to its expertise in border issues and its dense network of partners, the MOT is an indispensable interlocutor for the European Parliament and the other European institutions. Its reflections, based on experience on the ground, provide us with valuable input and help innovative initiatives to emerge, as was the case with the proposal for a mechanism to facilitate the structuring of cross-border projects.

One of the MOT’s strengths is its ability to set up synergies and to create networks connecting different levels of governance. This role as a facilitator of dialogue is vital to address the complex challenges of cross-border territories. We need structures like the MOT which contribute to relaying the concerns and difficulties on the ground to the European level."

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