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Towards the adoption of a regulation to remove cross-border obstacles? An update

May 2024

Towards the adoption of a regulation to remove cross-border obstacles? An update

The first proposal for a regulation on the European Cross-Border Mechanism ("ECBM"), now renamed "FCBS" ("Facilitating Cross-Border Solutions") dates back to 2018.

Despite its adoption by the European Parliament, a number of member states expressed reservations about it, leading to the suspension of discussions in the Council. On July 26th, 2023, Sandro Gozi, Member of the European Parliament, presented his report containing recommendations to the Commission with a view to relaunching discussions. He spoke in favor of streamlining the mechanism to establish a simple coordination framework. At the same time, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) also came out in favor of a new regulation, followed by the presentation in October 2023 of a first opinion by MEP Magali Altounian. All these concordant steps led the European Commission to present its new proposal for a regulation in December 2023.

On April 17th, 2024, the CoR published a second opinion, also written by Magali Altounian, assessing the Commission's new proposal. In particular, the Commission sought to reassure reluctant Member States by reinforcing the voluntary nature of the new tool, in order to preserve national sovereignty as much as possible. In concrete terms, even with the adoption of the regulation, each state will remain free to resolve border obstacles in the way it deems most appropriate, using the proposed cross-border facilitation tool or other existing instruments.
The rapporteur stressed that this new opinion highlights “the importance of mobilizing local and regional elected representatives to ensure that the European legislative framework evolves to meet the challenges facing their territories”. You can find an extract of her speech here.

Sandro Gozi MEP took part in the discussion and deplored: “the persistence of invisible bureaucratic walls [which] undermine the rights and opportunities of 150 million EU citizens living in border regions”.

With only a few weeks to go before the European elections, this recognition of cross-border issues is a positive message for the future of border regions and, more generally, for the construction of the European Union.

Find out more about the Committee of the Regions' opinion here. In particular, it reminds Member States that resolving cross-border obstacles could lead to significant economic growth in border regions.

The European Economic and Social Committee has also published its opinion. It welcomes the approach, but also stresses the need to create clear incentives for Member States to use this new mechanism.

 

 

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