Countries: Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg
Border(s): Belgium-Germany, France-Germany, France-Belgium, France-Luxembourg, Germany-Luxembourg, Belgium-Luxembourg,
Greater Region,
European programme(s):
- Cross-border conurbations
- Observation
- Cross-border governance

Lead partner: Luxemburg

Published in January 2011, the final report of the METROBORDER project demonstrates the potential and the development of Cross-border Polycentric Metropolitan Regions (CBPMRs) in Europe. Between 2009 and 2010, the project focused on the study of two border regions: the Greater Région and the Upper Rhine.

METROBORDER, the applied research project, was launched by Switzerland in 2009 within the framework of priority 2 of the ESPON programme in collaboration with Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Walloon region. The MOT has participated in its role beside DATAR. The analysis of the CBPMRs focused on their external positioning, their internal organisation and their institutional and functional dimensions. Identified as “emerging and promising spatial configurations in Europe", the CBPMRs were defined according to criteria of polycentricity, metropolitan quality, functional and institutional integration and governance.


  • Land of Saar
  • Lorraine Region
  • Luxemburg
  • Land Rhenanie-Palatinate
  • Wallonia and French community of Belgium
  • German community of Belgium

Project activities

On 2nd May 2011, the conclusions of the METROBORDER project were submitted to the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. Poor institutionalisation and intergovernmentality characterise existing cross-border cooperation in these regions. They are strongly confronted with the asymmetric organisation of political and administrative areas of competence on both sides of the border and must surpass multi-level cleavages. The report draws a certain number of recommendations leading to an improvement in the exploitation of the potential of these regions: the need for the involvement of municipal and economic actors, as well as possible delegation of mandates to stable supranational institutions. According to the study, priority efforts should be made in transports, regional planning, research and innovation.  The report also states that a single and exact delimitation of these regions does not exist. They have on the contrary evolved according to domains and political projects. Finally, the European Union is identified as a key agent in the CBPMRs because it can facilitate cooperation by providing the local, regional and national authorities with innovative tools.

Project duration

January 2009 – December 2010