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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


French-Italian Border

Border Type:

  • “Old” European border between France and Italy
  •  terrestrial and Maritime border
  • External border (France – Principality of Monaco)

Which entities constitute the CB region:

A/ terrestrial border (488 km – last modifications in 1947)

In France:

  • Region Rhône Alpes, including 2 districts (departments): Savoie and Haute Savoie
  • Region PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), including 3 districts (departments): Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes

In Italy:

  • Autonomous region of the Aosta Valley (special status)
  • Piedmont region including  2 districts (provinces): Turin and Cuneo
  • Liguria region including 1 district (province): Imperia

In the Principality of Monaco (city-state of 197 hectares – border of 4,4 km)

B/ martitim border (Thyrénéen Sea)

In France:

  • Territorial collectivity of Corsica, including 2 districts (departements): Haute-Corse and

In Italy:

  • Autonomous region of Sardinia (special status)
  • Tuscany region, including 5 districts (provinces): Livorno, Lucca, Pisa, Grosseto and Massa Carrara
  • Liguria region including 4 districts (provinces): Imperia, Savona, Genoa and La Spezia

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?

Territory divided in 2 INTERREG Programmes :

  • ALCOTRA : Alpes coopération transfrontalière for the terrestrial border
  •  IT – FR Maritime : programme Italy/France, maritime border

There is no model of spatial planning or cross-border programme for territorial development defining a relevant space for communication across land and maritime borders.

The only spatial indication figures in the Treaty of Rome on cross-border cooperation of 1993 which states (only for the Italian side, however) that it applies only to regions whose administrative limit/border is situated less than 25 km from the national border.

Consequently, the only criteria of “cross border” has a merely administrative character: the level NUTS 3 as it is defined in the operational programmes of the European territorial cooperation (objective 3 of the Cohesion Policy) that is to say the adjacent departments/provinces and administrative territories.

On the other levels of territorial cooperation, the cross-border regions are included in transnational cooperation programmes  as the MED and the ALPIN SPACE programme

Basic data of the border region:

Important cities  and development hubs across the border:

  • in France : Nice, Chambery, Annecy, Gap (and Marseille)
  • in Italy : Genoa, Imperia, Cuneo, Turin and Aosta
  • in the Principality of Monaco: Monaco

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

  • 2 languages: Italian and French
  • In Val D’Aosta also French dialect
  • Good understanding between populations and some difficulties to cooperate between the different administrations.
  • Cross- border cooperation is not too old (only 15 years)
  • Awareness of the cultural and geographical proximity but difficult to speak from common identity yet

Governance/ institutionalisation of cross border co-operation within the region:

Alps-Mediterranean Euroregion

Groups together 3 Italian regions (Liguria, Piedmont and Aosta Valley) and 2 French regions: Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur (PACA) and Rhône-Alpes, that is 17 million inhabitants

On the 18 July 2007, a protocol of understanding was signed, establishing the basis for a tightened cooperation in the Alps-Mediterranean region. The headquarters of the Euroregion were inaugurated the 31 January 2008 in Brussels

An EGTC project is currently in the process of being approved.

The functioning of the Euroregion is based on a rotating presidency. The region in charge of the presidency facilitates and coordinates the meetings of the 5 following working groups:

  •  Accessibility and transports (Piedmont region)
  • Innovation and research (PACA region)
  • Environment and risk prevention (Rhône-Alpes region)
  • Culture and tourism (Liguria region)
  • Education and training (Val d’Aoste region)

Other Actors:

  • “Conférence des 3 provinces” Nice – Imperia – Cuneo (1997)
  • “Conférence des Alpes Franco – Italiennes”: CAFi – (2000)

Main Developers and drivers of cross border co-operation:

  • Cooperation between local authorities (Euroregion, Imperia region / Alpes-Maritimes department, cities of Menton and Ventimiglia,…..)
  • Public hospitals (example hôpital de Menton – ASL N° 1 Imperia….)
  • National and regional natural parks (Parc du Mercantour/ Parco alpi marittimi,…)
  • INTERREG-Authority
  • Universities of Nice – Sophia Antipolis, Genoa and Turin
  • Public research centres
  • Chambers of commerce

Mayor Projects in the cross-border region:

ALCOTRA II : for the period 2008-2011

  • 84 simple projects
  • 6 integrated cross-border projects
  • 6 strategic projects

More information on the following websites:

Current challenges for co-operation

  • language issues
  • fragmentation of cross-border structures (better coordination necessary)
  • no joint data available
  • Legal issues (difference of national law)
  • Training for professions in the field of cooperation, capitalization and transmission, research