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A wealth of new knowledge to enhance cross-border cooperation through b-solutions

13 December 2021

 

The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), in collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), has just released a series of publications aiming at raising awareness about cross-border cooperation and a variety of obstacles hampering it. These publications showcase relevant information gained through the implementation of the b-solutions initiative, which AEBR has managed on behalf of DG REGIO for the past four years.

Launched in 2017 to overcome such obstacles, the b-solutions pilot initiative aims to address specific legal and administrative obstacles hindering cross-border cooperation along the EU internal land borders. b-solutions is one of the actions stemming from the Commission’s 2017 Communication Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions and a stepping stone to its 2021 report EU Border Regions: Living labs of European integration.

With this project, AEBR has addressed the 40 land borders connecting Member States of the European Union and EFTA countries. 150 million European citizens ¾almost one third of the entire EU population¾ live in a border region today, facing many obstacles when interacting with their neighbouring regions across national boundaries.

b-solutions looks for solutions to those obstacles that are preventing citizens and businesses alike in border regions from accessing services such as public transport, recruiting personnel or healthcare.

Between 2018 and 2021, four calls for proposals were launched in the framework of b-solutions, through which a total of 90 case studies from across Europe were selected. Regional governments and their administrative bodies, cross-border structures such as European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs), registered cross-border associations and Euroregions, municipalities and provincial governments and various public equivalent bodies from different European countries took part. All these cases contribute to shed light on the most recurrent cross-border obstacles at present. The ninety case studies deal with topics such as health, multilingualism, employment, transport, e-Government and institutional cooperation in general. With the help of legal experts, an in-depth analysis of every case was conducted to identify sustainable and replicable solutions.

Good examples for possible solutions which can inspire other regions with similar problems are shown in various publications just released by DG REGIO and AEBR: five booklets with information that could help stakeholders learn more about cross-border cooperation, and possibilities to enhance it. In addition to the compendium and its annex published in 2020, AEBR and DG REGIO have prepared:

  • a story-telling publication illustrating various obstacles that European citizens face in border regions;
  • a new compendium offering insights on the 47 cases selected in 2020 and 2021, and analysed by legal experts to suggest viable solutions;
  • 3 thematic publications with deeper analyses of the causes of the obstacles and an overview of solutions to boost cross-border cooperation in three fields: Education and Employment, Public Services and the implementation of the Green Deal.

An event to launch these publications took place online on 10 December with the participation of  DG Regio, AEBR, cases, experts and copywriters. You can watch the video recording of the event here.

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