AEBR General Assembly and Annual Conference 2016:22.-24. September 2016 in Görlitz (DE), Liberec (CZ) and Boleslawiec (PL), Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa
On invitation of Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa, the AEBR General Assembly and Annual Conference 2016 took place from 22 to 24 September 2016 in Görlitz (Germany), Liberec (Czech Republic) and Boleslawiec (Poland).
The AEBR General Assembly elected the new Executive Committee (read more), and also adopted a Position Paper entitled "STATEMENT and PROPOSALS on the 7th Cohesion Report from the perspective of Cross-Border Cooperation". This document is available for download in the following languages:
Furthermore, a document unterlining the "Importance of Cohesion Policy for the Future of the EU and Cross-Border Cooperation" was presented, which is available for download in the following languages:
The AEBR Annual Conference was opened by Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of AEBR; Lena Andersson Pench, Director of DG REGIO, European Commission; Raffaele Cattaneo, Chair of the CoR COTER Commission and the CoR EGTC Platform, President of CALRE, President of Lombardy; Heinz Lehmann, Member of the Parliament of Saxony; Bernd Lange, President of Euroregion Neisse (DE).
In Round Table 1, the speakers discussed about “The Role and Importance of Cross-Border Cooperation in the future European Cohesion and Regional Policy”.
The Chair Geert Versnick opened this Round Table and presented the panellists.
The introduction of Round Table 1 was given by Lena Andersson Pench, who tackled questions and points which are important for the 7th Cohesion Report as well as the future of Cohesion Policy and Territorial Cooperation.
Dr. Jiří Horáček spoke for a smaller state in the heart of Europe, bordering “old” and “new” EU Member States, based on his more than 25 years of experience in the field of Cohesion and Regional Policy as well as Cross-Border Cooperation.
Mr. Stefanos Georgiadis, President of the Chamber of Drama, President of Euroregion Nestos-Mesta presented the spectrum of cross-border cooperation in Greece: Mountains in the North, Mediterranean in the South, border to EU member states (Bulgaria) and different types of external borders with accession candidates (Turkey).
Mr. Ángel-Luis Sánchez Muñoz, Secretary General for External Relations of Andalucía, reported about the topic from the perspective of a cohesion region. Andalusia does not only have a land border with Portugal (Algarve) and Gibraltar, but also a small maritime border with North Africa. On the one hand, a better cooperation with the neighbours in North Africa is strived for, but on the other hand migration and the refugee issue present significant challenges. His presentation as well as the video which was shown during his presentation are available online:
-> Video (Spanish with subtitles in English).
Ms. Anita Ryng, Director in the Ministry of Regional Development of Poland, presented Poland’s view regarding Cohesion and Regional Policy: long land borders with an “old” EU member (Germany) and “new” EU members (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania) as well as two non-members (Ukraine, Belarus) and traditional relationships across the Baltic Sea.
Mr. Johannes Moisio, Regional Council of South KArelia, explained particular circumstances and requirements for Cohesion Policy and cross-border cooperation in large, but sparsely populated border areas with very special characteristics.
Mr. Alexander Maier, Government of Tirol, talked about the particular requirements and challenges as regards Cohesion and Regional Policy as well as cross-border cooperation in Alpine areas.
Day 1 concluded with a official reception held on invitation of the Free State of Saxony.
On the second conference day, delegates were moved to Liberec (Czech Republic) to learn more about "Border Obstacles", which was the motto of the second round table debate.
After a welcome address by the President of Liberec Region, Mr. Martin Puta, the Chair Pavel Branda opened this Round Table and introduced the participants.
The introduction was given by Nathalie Verschelde who presented the “Results of the EU Study on Border Obstacles” and possible solutions. Her presentation is available online:
Mr. Raffaele Cattaneo reported about cross-border cooperation, possible obstacles and chances, based on the numerous reports and discussions within the CoR.
Mr. Konstantinos Exakoustos, Region of Eastern Macedonia & Thrace, reported about the situation in his region with land borders to Bulgaria (mountains) and Turkey. The border obstacles there are of particular nature, also due to the refugee issue.
Mr. Jean Peyrony, Director General of MOT, presented the activities of the MOT in order to contribute to solutions.
Mr. Michael Fahmüller, Landrat of Landkreis Rottal-Inn, Euregio Bayerischer Wald-Böhmerwald, reported about the border obstacles which still exist at the borders between Bavaria, Upper Austria and South Bohemia despite of 20 years of cooperation, and show possible solutions.
Mr. Peter Hansen, Director General of Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig, contributed for AEBR at European level to the study on border obstacles. Furthermore, also reported about particular Danish/German measures and experiences, which have effects on other Scandinavian countries, too.
Mr. Martín Guillermo Ramírez, Secretary General of AEBR, reported about the experiences of AEBR as regards border obstacles and possible solutions. He also took the chance to show a small video message of representatives of EGTC Euroregion Aquitaine-Euskadi who won special award for their efforts to overcome border obstacles.
In the afternoon, a festive ceremony took place in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa. The AEBR Award "Sail of Papenburg" 2016 was handed over on that occasion to Kvarken Region (Please click to read more about the winner project 2016 and the special award for EGTC Euroregion Aquitaine-Euskadi).
The musical performed by the cross-border orchestra of Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa is also available online.
The second day of the AEBR Annual Conference concluded with a reception on invitation of the President of Liberec Region, Mr. Martin Puta.
On Saturday, the delegates visited Boleslawiec in the Polish part of Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa, which is famous for its traditional ceramics.