The legal framework
Madrid Outline Convention (1980) – Karlsruhe Agreement on cross-border cooperation between territorial authorities and local public organisations (1996, France-Germany-Luxembourg-Switzerland)
Already from 1975 onwards, the Bonn Agreements between France and Germany made it possible to begin exchanging information about the regional development plans drawn up by the territorial authorities on either side of the border. Since 1996, this cooperation has taken place within the framework of the Karlsruhe Agreement. This agreement, which aims to facilitate cross-border cooperation and which was negotiated in accordance with the principles laid down by the Madrid Outline Convention, was signed by France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. In the case of France, it applies to the regional authorities of the Alsace and Lorraine Regions, and for Germany, to the Länder of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland. The agreement authorises the territorial authorities and certain public bodies to sign cooperation agreements and to set up cooperation bodies with or without legal personality. The territorial authorities can thus take action in two ways: firstly, they can sign cooperation agreements that allow the parties concerned to coordinate their decisions, and to set in place and manage all of the equipment and public services for the good of the local community; and secondly, they can set up cross-border bodies such as Local Cross-Border Cooperation Groupings (LCCG) within which the territorial authorities on either side of the borders can come together (this structure is then subject to the domestic law applicable to public structures for cooperation between local authorities in the region where it is based).
More information on the legal framework on the Franco-German border (access restricted to members).