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Growth and cohesion in EU border regions

Growth and cohesion in EU border regions

On 20 September 2017 the European Commission published its communication “Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions” to the Council and the European Parliament. This communication (accessible online at:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/communications/2017/boosting-growth-and-cohesion-in-eu-border-regions)

is the result of a process of reflection which has been developed since September 2015 by the European Commission in the framework of the Cross-Border Review

(http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/policy/cooperation/european-territorial/cross-border/review/) and in which the Euro-Institut took part.

In Brussels, the Commitee of the Regions and different cross-border cooperation actors expressed their satisfaction with the results of this work.

This communication sets out 10 actions in different areas, as for example impact assessment of European legislation on cross-border areas, provision of individuals with reliable and comprehensive information, cross-border employment support, promotion of bilingualism, pooling of healthcare institutions, cross-border accessibility, statistical and geospatial data, legal framework for cross-border cooperation.

The implementation of the 10 actions listed above will be facilitated by the creation of a “Border Focal Point” within the Commission. The functions of the “Border Focal Point” will be to (1) ensure that key future actions by the Commission take due account of cross-border regional dimensions, (2) provide Member States and other key players with support to address legal and administrative border regional issues, notably relating to the transposition of EU directives or coordination requirements, (3) make sure that practical arrangements are in place for new actions stemming from this Communication, (4) share experiences and good practices effectively and widely with relevant stakeholders.

Another advance is that the communication takes up the idea of a new legal tool that “which would make it possible, on a voluntary basis and agreed by the competent authorities in charge, for the rules of one Member State to apply in the neighbouring Member State for a specific project or action limited in time, located within a border region and initiated by local and/or regional public authorities”

In addition, the Commission will launch an open call for pilot projects before the end of 2017. It will target public authorities wishing to resolve one or more border-specific legal or administrative problem(s).  These projects will serve as a basis for exploring innovative ways to address border issues. Their results will be summarized in a final compendium that will be widely distributed and used to foster greater awareness and capacity among key players. The call will be open to any public body willing to engage in identifying solutions to border issues within their area of competence.

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