Strategic priorities and cooperation projects
Three strategic priorities form the pillars of cooperation within the Eurocity:
The development of a Euro-citizenship
This means involving citizens in the governance of the Eurocity and in the cooperation process. This determination increased with the consultation and participation of citizens from the two municipalities in the drafting of the Eurocity’s Strategic Agenda in 2007. Seventy people, including representatives of the local population, interest groups, experts and decision-makers, were involved in this project. The strengthening of social cohesion also involves organising cross-border cultural events (travelling exhibitions, including Eixo Atlantico’s biennial exhibition) and advanced cooperation in the area of education (organisation of summer activities for young people in both municipalities: “Living together with languages”) and employment (organisation of training seminars) within the cross-border conurbation.
Within the development of a euro-citizenship priority the Eurocity has developed a ‘eurocitizens card’. The card allows users from both cities to access shared municipal services and facilities in areas such as sport, leisure, music and culture. The card has proved popular and currently has more than 7 000 subscribers in 2015. Furthermore, publication of a monthly events agenda has also helped to foster a shared sense of belonging.
Sustainable development of the territory
The Eurocity is also committed to an approach of sustainable development. It aims to promote its natural heritage, notably in the corridor of the river Tâmega. The two towns also share hot springs. Preserving this water resource and developing uses for it are the focus of the project “Eurocity of health and water” for the promotion of thermal spas in the region, and the standardisation between the two municipalities on conditions of use for these resources. Other environmental measures are also envisioned in order to allow better management of natural resources and spaces within this territory.
Another priority for cooperation is to enable the emergence of the economic potential of this conurbation within the “Galicia-North Portugal” cross-border region. This is addressed with the RIET project (“Red Ibérica de Entidades Transfronterizas”) which aims to create a cross-border observatory. Development of tourism is an integral part of the actors’ desire to raise the profile of the Chaves-Verín cross-border territory, which holds a strategic position within the Iberian Peninsula.