15 December 2016: Commissions Review on Border Obstacles - 4th Stakeholder's Workshop in Brussels:



 

The 4th and last workshop of DG Regio’s Cross-Border Review took place on 15th December in Brussels, with plenty of stakeholders from different DGs which got involved, cross-border platforms, organizations and experts, met to know and discuss some updates of the Review’s three pillars (consultation, workshops and study), the main deliverables, preliminary conclusions and next steps.

A repository of border obstacles is already available in the website of DG Regio:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/de/policy/cooperation/european-territorial/cross-border/review/#3

15 case studies are under review in order to be published in this website:

Main conclusions and recommendations are under elaboration around the main findings of the consultation, the workshops and the study:

  • Certain policy areas are more relevant than others in a cross-border obstacles context: labour mobility, language barriers and transport gaps.
  • An authentic multi-level approach is necessary, with the three levels taking action together.
  • Interreg has a main role to play in future Territorial Cohesion

A publication will be released at the beginning of 2017 presenting a toolbox for CB legal and administrative obstacles not only based on the alignment of legislation, but also on better information and communication. Some initiatives (ITEM in Maastricht, CESCI in Budapest) have identified interesting series of obstacles, and they also agree on a very high share of national level-related solutions.

On the other hand, if better regulation and policy-making is to be achieved, we have to be able to measure across national boundaries. CB indicators (or, at least, integrated data across borders) are a main issue. This could be a main coordination exercise, and it can be used to put together some fragmented cooperation areas. More institutionalization of CB areas is needed in many cases, and there is a great lack of capacities which urges a systematic capacity building program for border LRAs on the EU. An assessment (perhaps peer-to-peer) of CB structures was recommended.

A Commission’s Communication is expected mid-2017 demonstrating the positive effects of EU integration, unleashing the growth potential of border regions, announcing a better and simpler regulatory framework and some proposed solutions. Next tasks for cross-border regions are related to identify good indicators and provide cross-border data, impact assessments, etc. New instruments to provide innovative solutions to CB obstacles (such as the Luxembourg ECBC) are to be explored as well. And the role of small countries (Luxembourg, Andorra, Liechtenstein), which are closer to the CB experience of border regions, could be used to implement pilot actions.

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