Added value of cross-border action in the field of social inclusion
There are many cases in which the cross-border area is an appropriate scale for action, generating real added value for this issue.
In the field of social and territorial cohesion, where services to the population are dependent on public action that is usually organised within a national framework, cross-border areas often display significant synergies across borders, enabling the improvement of these services while limiting costs. This is especially true in sparsely populated areas (mountainous, rural or protected natural areasTopics of cooperation1), but also in cross-border conurbations. In the face of new challenges such as ageing populations, the decline of certain regions and “shrinking cities", cross-border cooperation can also help disseminate new solutions in the neighbouring country, or even develop them together.
Cross-border cooperation in the social field is a response to the needs of inhabitants in cross-border territories. While the specific areas of social policy action vary according to local requirements, there is often a need for coordination of social services across borders.
Supported by European funding, and encouraged by various European actors in the social field, such as the ELISAN network2 initiated by UNCCAS, consideration of social cohesion in European cross-border projects is growing.
For example, the Maroni and Oyapock river basins on the border between French Guiana, Suriname and Brazil.
The ELISAN network (European Local Inclusion and Social Action Network) aims to speak up for elected representatives in local social action at the European level. It is open to European local authorities, as well as town and city networks, experts in local social policy action and European networks acting in the field of social action.