Cross-border conurbations and more generally cross-border urban networks amount to real living spaces in which European citizenship is being forged. Straddling two or three countries, their cross-border location exacerbates the complexity of the problems faced by "national" conurbations but also increases the potential for innovation that they represent. For cooperation in the context of a cross-border conurbation, the challenge is to find practical solutions to the needs of residents.
Having in a sense overtaken EU law, which does not always take into account cross-border issues, cross-border conurbations need to be taken into account more fully. Indeed, these conurbations have long suffered from their location on the “periphery” in relation to the national capitals (most often centrally located). Acting as laboratories for the convergence of European and national policies and legislation, cross-border conurbations and metropolitan hubs are emblematic of the 21st century European city.
Cross-border conurbations exist on many European borders. Some of these conurbations are the subject of political projects on cooperation accompanying the cross-border dynamic, and have been sometimes for as long as fifteen years. As a long-term process, cross-border cooperation has enabled the actors involved to move progressively from a state of ignorance, to one of knowledge, consistency, of joint production and finally the organisation of cross-border governance. The solutions that have been found in some of these territories have allowed legislation to begin to evolve, and give cross-border conurbations the possibility to go even further in their plans for integrated territories.