Identifying and removing obstacles

A major challenge for cross-border cooperation

Inhabitants of border regions are faced in their daily lives with difficulties linked to the presence of the border, whether it is finding a job, or accessing healthcare, everyday travel, overcoming administrative problems, etc.

To overcome these difficulties, identifying obstacles to cooperation – and finding solutions – is one of the major challenges of cross-border cooperation.

Philippe Richert, President of the "Grand Est" Region (Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine) in France, in a March 2016 letter addressed to the French President1 highlighted the urgency for “fully integrating the cross-border dimension in national policies” in order to “facilitate the lifting of barriers to cross-border developments”.

Indeed, for many obstacles to cross-border cooperation, the source is at the national level2 and could be avoided by:
-    better taking account of cross-border concerns within national policies,
-    more concertation with the local level and/or neighbouring countries,
-    a greater flexibility and adaptation to the specific cross-border context.

However, the national level is not the only one concerned in overcoming obstacles to cooperation. The local and regional levels are directly concerned in a great number of cases. Sometimes the problem comes from the EU level.

Additionally, not all obstacles are legal or administrative in nature, but can be linked to language, culture, political engagement, etc… 

1. In view of the Franco-German Council of ministers held on 7 April 2016 in Metz. More info [in French] 
2  Either in national legislation/regulations, or in the lack of inter-operability of these with the neighbouring country.