Identifying and removing obstacles

Two examples of coordinated approaches on French borders

Approaches to identifying obstacles to cooperation – and work towards their removal – have been undertaken in a general manner on two French borders:

The French-Belgian example

Following an initial French-Belgian parliamentary report whose conclusions were delivered in 2007, noting obstacles to French-Belgian cross-border cooperation as well as proposing solutions for overcoming them, the General Secretariat for Regional Affairs (SGAR) of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region's Prefecture commissioned a precise diagnostic study1 of persisting obstacles. Over fifty partners were consulted; workshops bringing together more than 120 participants were organised around four thematic priorities: health, employment and training, spatial-planning/transport/environment and civil protection.
The work led to the production of a summary table giving an overview of obstacles, set against possible solutions and the main actions envisaged.

The study – which has not yet been made public – proposes in its conclusions four types of solution:
- Developing knowledge around certain thematic areas and their implementation
- Developing practices of administrative coordination and facilities for concertation
- Bringing modifications to domestic law (French, Belgian Flemish and Walloon)
- Entering into new intergovernmental agreements

Aside from the operational recommendations that were highlighted, the study also brought attention to administrative, legislative and regulatory coordination at the level of the whole French-Belgian border.
More info on the study

The French-Spanish-Andorran example

Following the work of a working group on the border between France, Spain and Andorra, a study was published looking at the strength of cross-border links on this border, identification of obstacles to cooperation, and the recommendations for improving the governance of cross-border relations. Download the study [FR].
This study is less ambitious than that on the French-Belgian border because it was limited to the French partners.

  1. The MOT worked on this study in the role of assistant to the main contractor.