Border: France-Germany

Systems of governance

The Greater Region and Upper Rhine areas differ in their modes of governance, their cooperation structures and the degree of interconnectedness of the territories and players. However, they are both guided by the same metropolitan approach.

In the Upper Rhine

The special feature of the Upper Rhine territory is the overlapping of the different areas concerned. Unlike other territories that have to cope with areas that only partially correspond, the area covered by the institutional cooperation is identical to that covered by the Interreg programme. Moreover, at local level, the four Eurodistricts adjoin one another and almost completely cover the territory of the Upper Rhine. Lastly, the Upper Rhine has a dense network of medium-sized towns.

In this context, consultations were launched in 2006 around the concept of a Cross-Border Metropolitan Region (RMT) aimed at simplifying and rationalising the space of cooperation. The idea is to foster the complementarity and closer coordination of the existing structures (notably the Upper Rhine Council and the Upper Rhine Conference) by redefining their roles and remits. In addition, the RMT aims to improve multi-level coordination, which depends on greater account being taken of the networks that exist (economic players, civil society, the Network of Cities of the Upper Rhine) and territories and cooperation structures at local level (the Pamina, Strasbourg-Ortenau, Freiburg Region-Central and Southern Alsace, and Basel Trinational Eurodistricts ).

In the Greater Region

Notwithstanding the greater involvement of national governments than is the case with other borders, the governance of the Greater Region territory is dominated by the Euroregional level where numerous cooperation bodies coexist (the Summit of Executive Bodies, the Interregional Parliamentary Council and the Greater Region Economic and Social Committee). The Summit is the pre-eminent body since it represents the executive bodies of the regions and Luxembourg and is about to set up a permanent secretariat with a dedicated team, thus ensuring the continuation of initiatives beyond the rotating presidencies. The existence of a body representing elected representatives and another one that brings together social and economic players is fairly rare along France’s borders. However, the large number of structures leads to overlapping and duplication (notably regarding the activities of working groups).

Against this backdrop, the Cross-Border Polycentric Metropolitan Region is aimed at rationalising governance (improving communication between the structures and their coherence and complementarity). Its objective is to create a critical mass for the area by drawing on the networks of medium-sized towns that partly structure the territory, as well as on the rural areas and natural reserves that provide diverse economic and socio-cultural resources.