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Enhancing capacities of regions and cities for better cross-border cooperation

How to enhance capacities of regions, cities and other actors for better cross-border cooperation (CBC)? How to support cities and regions in their cross-border (CB) activities? How to overcome obstacles in the CBC?   – These were the core questions addressed in the EWRC workshop organized by TEIN (Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network) and its associated partners the MOT (Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière), the AEBR (Association of European Border Regions) as well as the CESCI (Central European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives), in collaboration with DG Regio/European Commission.

Over a hundred political representatives, actors of the CBC (in administrations, cross-border structures or projects) and representatives of EU institutions from all over Europe came together to learn more about and discuss the initiatives, projects and tools proposed by the workshop partners.

Nathalie Verschelde from DG Regio/EC presented the EC Communication “Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions”. Adopted on the 20th of September 2017, this Communication is the result of two years of intensive research and consultations. It proposes a 10 point action plan aiming at overcoming persisting obstacles and using unexploited potentials in CBC.

Following on from these proposals, Jean Peyrony, director general of the MOT explained in greater detail the “European Cross-Border Convention”. Proposed by a working group set up following Luxembourg’s Presidency, this innovative instrument was designed to facilitate the implementation of cross-border projects by solving legal obstacles.

Continuing the example of the legal framework for CBC, Gyula Ocskay, secretary general of the CESCI, a think-tank of cross-border issues providing professional support to the stakeholders involved in territorial cooperation in Hungary and in Central Europe, presented a study on legal accessibility across borders carried out by his organization.

Operating on the European level, AEBR has developed a number of tools to extend CBC knowledge. The association’s secretary general, Martin Guillermo-Ramirez introduced for example a handbook on CBC, their CB school as well as their activities in the framework of the Interreg Volunteer Youth Programme.

Finally, Anne Hofmann, explained how TEIN, a European-wide network of training institutes, universities and other CB organizations, contributes to the capacity building of CB actors through training, tools, applied research, best practice exchanges and coaching.

After the presentation of these initiatives, tools and projects developed to help stakeholders of the CBC to improve policy making in CB contexts and manage CB projects more effectively, the participants shared their needs with the panelists and discussed potential solutions that could be implemented by the partnership in close cooperation with DG Regio. Even though it became clear that there is no one-fits-all solution for overcoming obstacles in CBC, which are often very specific to the respective CB regions, lots can be done to support regions and cities in their CB actions and thus ultimately improve the quality of life of citizens in CB regions.

Speaker’s presentations:

Documents pour le jour même\Final PPT\2017 10 10 PPT EWRC.pdf (on the server)

 Pictures from the workshop:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/euregionsweek/albums/72157687716228864

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