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East French-Spanish, Catalonian border

  Border Type:

  • Maritime borders – on the Mediterranean sea,
  • Old European borders,  between France and Spain
  • Natural border – Pyrenees mountain
  • External border – France/Andorra/Spain

Which entities constitute the CB region:

  • Which sub-national areas are covered?

The core of the Cross-border area is composed by the Department of the Pyrénées-Orientales (France) and the Provincia of Girona (Spain) but the cross-border dynamic is more expanded and include the country of Andorra and the regions of Catalonia, Baleares (Spain), Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées (France)

What is the broader cross border perspective (the “Framework” of CB in your region)?

The construction of the Eurodistrict of the Transfrontier Catalan Space.

How is the territory defined? Is it defined through a political agreement, an INTERREG programme or isn’t there a fixed definition of “the” border region?

There is an Eurodistrict in constitution (EGTC), the EGTC of the Euroregio Pyrénées-Méditerranée (that involved  4 regions : Catalonia, Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc-Roussillon, Baleares) and an INTERREG program named POCTEFA for the whole Pyrenees Mountains from Antlantic to Mediterranean border (France, Spain, Andorra)

The map of the relevant territory

What is your range of activity?

Training institute specialized in cross-border cooperation, territorial development and Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, for professionals of the public or private sector the objective is to promote cross-border cooperation as essential factor for integrated development of borders territories.

Basic data of the border region:

-       inhabitants : 1. 178 000, the  migratory  balance is positive  because of the attractiveness of this zone for retire persons, household with weak revenues.

-       area of co-operation (square kilometres) : 10.000 km²

Important cities and development hubs across the border :

An European corridor  Perpignan, Figueres, Girona,

-       specificities of the economy in the border region  :

The Tourisme activity is predominant and  with the services, administration and commerce represent an 62% of the activity.

The Agriculture is more present on the French border than on the Spanish border that is more industrial.


-       “standing” of the border region à considered as a week or strong region compared to the average of the national state?

Week region for the French side and middle strong region for the Spanish side.

-       links between the jurisdictions :

The  cross border relation about workers (less than 1%) and students are very weak, but these results are not representatives of the reality and the lack of cross-border statistics could be an explanation.

Cross-border consumers are very developed, a lot of french consumers use to buy in the spanich commercial zone of La Junquera, on the other side the Spanish consumer use to buy in the hyper markets established around Perpignan. But during the last few years this percentage of Spanish consumers  tend to decrease. The trade relationships are not very developed.


-       General specialties of the border region (e.g. common language, identity feeling etc.)

A common language , the Catalan, is the official language in spanich Catalonian border at the same level than spanich language. On the french  catalan border the official language is the French, but the catalan is considered as a local regional language and is speak by 30% of the inhabitants.

The feeling to belong to a common identity, Catalan,  is shared by the population.

Governance/ institutionalisation ofcross border co-operation within the region:

Degree of co-operation:

Short history of co-operation structures :

Since midlle age to revolution, the cooperation between Pyrenees  Valleys community was developed through Contracts of « Lligas de passeries ».In the 80’s – Convention of Madrid and in 1995 – treaty of Bayonne – that allowed to local territorial institutions to cooperate with another territorial institution on the other side of the border in the frame of their competences. After that severals Juridical structures  of cross-border cooperation  where created : “consorcios transfronterer”, EGEI -  European grouping of  economic  interest and recently the EGTC, European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation.


Public or private predomination?

Public predomination, because the structures are in majority composed by public members.

Actors, e.g. cross border councils, integrated committees, cross border bodies, Euroregios :

The Working Community of the Pyrenees, The PRESS-PM, a cross-border university campus (under validation),the Euroregio of the Pyrenees-Mediterranean, The Eurodistrict of the cross-border Catalan Space (under validation) , the cross-border hospital of Cerdanya, the EGTC of Pyrenees-Cerdanya : between municipalities grouping, The EGCT of the “Pays d’Art et d’Histoire des Vallées catalanes du Tech et du Ter, a grouping of municipalities (under validation).

Main Developers and drivers of cross-border co-operation:

The main developer actors are territorial institutions, universities, chamber of commerce and structures of territorial development , “Pays”, consorcios….-

joint secretariat for regional fund programmes :

The POCTEFA – there is an Interreg program for all the Pyrenees zone from Atlantic to Mediterranean borders– the joint secretariat is based in Jaca (spain) and the supported structure is the Pyrenees Work Community.  The Conseil Général of the Pyrenees-Orientals participate in the management as Territorial Organism East

particular cities : The territory is different between a dynamic littoral zone, delimited by the three principal urban poles which are Perpignan, Figueres and Girona and a zone considered as more “depressed”, because less populated, relatively enclaves and located in the most mountainous part of the territory.

Euregio(s), Eurodistrict(s), etc.

The Euroregio of The Pyrenees-Mediterranean composed by five regions, Languedoc-Roussillon Midi-Pyrenees, Catalonia, Balearic Island.

The Eurodistrict of the Cross-Border Catalan Space (an EGCC is in constitution) – 21

Press- PM : The Pyrenees Mediterranean Higher Education Reseach Pole, a Cross-border campus that involved four universities , Girona, Perpignan Via Domitia, Balearic Island and the Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6 facilitated by the Banyuls-sur-Mer Oceanological Observatory (an EGCC is in constitution).

economic sphere , the chambers of commerce where involved in some co-operations projects but the project doesn’t  go on.

Other players such as NGO’s, Euro-Instituts, non-profit associations etc.

The Universities are involved in different INTERREG projects, Cultur-pro, ETFERSASO, ResPyr, Transversalis, and the Euroinstitut Catalan Transfrontalier.

Cross border project funding characteristics:

A bi-national funding :

Common Fund  for micro projects ; this micro fund is developed both by the Conseil General and the Generalitat of Catalonia to give support to cross-border projects that are not able to pretend to present an Interreg project, in terms of financial rate, thematic.. but which cross-border objectives are clearly defined and answer to the cross-border development axis of the Eurodistrict of the Cross-Border Catalan Space.

largely EU territorial co-operation funds with Interregs prgrams and also leader program through co-operation axis. FEDER cooperation fund (POCTEFA): For the last period  51 projects where financed that represent 26% of the Interreg budget, 174 Millions as 50% of Feder.

  Thematic focus:

An integrated approach doesn’t exist, but is seems to be developed yet trough the eurodistrict.

selective problem-oriented cross border intervention:

(particular branches e.g. education and health,: whit the first Cross-border Hospital (in Cerdanya)

transport sector: the train of speed velocity, that for the moment connect Perpignan to Figueras

university co-operation : an cross-border eurocampus, PRESS-PM… and Interreg projects.

cultural sector: a lot of projects where developed in cultural sector, and involved different actors an association between the two town of Perpignan and Girona developed the  theatre of the archipelago; And also with the objective of  a Territorial Rural development based on culture and tourism, the PAHT.

Natural space management, Project of an cross-border maritime natural park, a cross-border axis is developed in the new chart of the Natural park of the Cerdanya….

Mayor Projects in the cross border region:


  • Cross-border Hospital,-PAHT,
  • Theatre of the archipelago
  • Train of high velocity
  • Euroinstitut
  • eurocampus

  Current challenges for co-operation

  • no joint data available, but there is a project for a cross-border observatory under the Eurodistrict project.
  • lack of better understanding of the culture and socio political organisation of the neighbour
  • Lack of an integrated cross-border strategy
  • language issues
  • lack of cooperation between economic actors
  • The high velocity train, to connect to Barcelona
  • Lack of Mobility  of the young people, the workers, the student
  • Lack of cross-border public transport on the territory of proximity.
  • Lack of a real cross-border economic space

  Future cross border co-operation

  • The new interreg program will be more oriented on economic issues. But also on training.
  • The Eurodistrict could developed a new way of territorial governance that  impulse an integrated cross-border strategy.