Border: France-Spain-Andorra

Border: France-Spain-Andorra

The legal framework

The Treaty of Bayonne concerning cross-border cooperation between territorial authorities (1995)

The Treaty of Bayonne was the first regulatory framework for cross-border cooperation between the French and Spanish regional and local authorities (bilateral agreements existed before the signature of the treaty). We may note that following the signature of the Treaty of Bayonne, nearly thirty agreements between French and Spanish authorities have been signed, the great majority at local level. In addition, four cross-border consorcios (consortia) have been created (Bidasoa-Txingudi, the Working Community of the Pyrenees, Bourg-Madame/Puigcerda and the Aragnouet-Bielsa Tunnel).

The Andorran cross-border cooperation body

The implementation of cooperation with the Principality of Andorra is complex due to the skills imbalance between French, Spanish and Andorrans.

Andorra, which exercises all of the competences regarding its territory, may to cooperate in areas where its French and Spanish local stakeholders do not have the necessary competence at their level. Conversely, the French and Spanish governments are often reluctant to delegate their foreign affairs competence regarding cooperation with a neighbouring country to a lower tier of government.

In order to overcome these governance issues, the Principality of Andorra signed a protocol of amendment to the Treaty of Bayonne in February 2010. It can now participate in cooperation initiatives with French and Spanish territorial authorities and groupings via a body set up for this purpose – the “Andorran cross-border cooperation body” – which acts in the same way as these territorial authorities. This extension of the Treaty of Bayonne has notably enabled Andorra to become a member of the Consorcio of the Working Community of the Pyrenees, which serves as the managing authority and joint technical secretariat of POCTEFA (the Interreg IV and V France-Spain-Andorra programme).

The cooperation agreement between Andorra and the European Union

On 15 November 2004, the European Union signed a cooperation agreement with Andorra that came into force on 1 January 2006. The two parties thereby expressed their desire to promote cooperation in the areas of the environment, communication, culture, education, social and healthcare issues, transport and regional policy, while also leaving open the possibility of cooperating in other areas.

This agreement states that the European Union and the Principality of Andorra: “undertake to pursue their cooperation on trans-European transport, energy and telecommunications networks and on transport in general. This cooperation shall be aimed, inter alia, at promoting the study of projects of common interest which show due regard for the Pyrenean environment.” (Article 6)

It also states that Andorra and the European Union: “agree to step up their regional coopera-tion, in line with the European Community’s policy of cross-border, transnational and interre-gional cooperation. To that end, they encourage the following courses of action:

  • the study of a concerted approach to the development of the regions situated on the frontier between the European Community and the Principality of Andorra with a view to promoting a policy on the Pyrenees comparable to that on the Alps. Similarly, the European Community will offer the Principality of Andorra the possibility of taking part in future programmes of the Interreg type on the same terms as other non-member countries; […]

  • cooperation in matters of mountain policy, drawing on the Community policy aimed at ensuring continued and sustainable agricultural land use, economic development and the preservation of the countryside.” (Article 7)

Further information (in French) about the legal framework on the France-Spain-Andorra border (Members only)