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AEBR 3rd Cross- Border School

Prior to AEBR’s Annual Conference, the third Cross-Border School with the title “The Culture of Cross-Border Cooperation” took place on 23 October 2019 in Dresden. The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), the University of Twente (NL) and Radboud University (NL) provided a day filled with presentations, discussions and workshops about the latest academic research and current status of cross-border cooperation in the EU.

Over the years, the attention on cross-border cooperation is increasing – not only in Europe, but all over the globe. Researchers, practitioners and potential beneficiaries keep exploring what the impact of cross-border cooperation is and EU funds as well as national funding are allocated to this type of cooperation every year. Therefore, research on its results and impact is increasingly important. AEBR’s Cross-Border School aims to bridge the lack of communication between academics and practitioners and deliver relevant data in this field to policymakers. To do so, the Cross-Border School offered a meeting point to academicians and practitioners: five universities participated and exchanged with representatives of institutes and local governments.

The host of this year’s edition Euroregion Elbe Labe, represented by Rüdiger Kubsch, Martin Guillermo Ramírez, AEBR’s Secretary-General, and Annika Jaansoo, researcher at the University of Twente and coordinator of the Cross-Border School at AEBR, welcomed the audience in Dresden and stressed the need to keep on exchanging on cross-border issues.

The first presentation was guided by Hynek Böhm (University of Liberec, CZ), who analysed success stories of cross-border cooperation as strategies to face Euroscepticism. Marcel Boorger from the University of Twente stated the importance of strengthening aspects that are essential to cross-border cooperation as: a focused policy agenda, support from business and organisations, and democratic decision making linked to a mutual trust.

Melinda Benczi from the Central European Service for Cross-border Initiatives (CESCI) suggested a design to enable a good strategy plan when cooperating. In the following session, Doede Sitjma, a representative of the Province of Gelderland (NL), and Martin van der Velde, Associate Professor at Radboud University, agreed on the need for cross-border knowledge to be shared to allow for a common understanding among the cooperating parties. Eduardo Medeiros from the University of Lisbon pointed out how cross-border cooperation is a distinctive and fundamental process for territorial cooperation, especially within the EU. Maria Hegner showcased the University of the Greater Region as an example of cross-border university which allows a special status for students to take exams in each of the six universities involved, regardless of the country they are based in.

Lastly, to conclude the morning session, Annika Jaansoo offered a brief analysis of cross-border services, pointing four key factors which have an impact on the provision of services: the institutional context, the availability of resources, the transaction costs and the gains. Pauliina Karnevo brought the example of shared services between Finland and Sweden, where projects implementing joint education in the Bothnian Arc area are realised.

During the afternoon, multiple workshops took place with variety of topics as “overcoming obstacles to Cross-Border Cooperation”, “minorities as Cross-Border Cooperation actors”, “borders as a creative resource and source of creativity” and “individual local heroes of the border”.


Three years of AEBR Cross-Border School have shown the need for events like this one. From 2020 AEBR Cross-Border School could be integrated as a workshop in “21st Century Borders”, a project initiated by the University of Victoria in Canada, as a further initiative after the project “BIG (Borders in Globalization)”. This is a unique opportunity for AEBR Cross-Border School to be promoted world-wide.

All presentations can be accessed at:


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