Symposium “The Future of European Territorial Cooperation: Capacity Building in Cross-Border Territories” :

10.07.2012, Brussels

 

On 10 July 2012, the representation of the German Land of Baden-Wuerttemberg in Brussels hosted the symposium “The Future of European Territorial Cooperation: Capacity Building in Cross-Border Territories”, which highlighted the new challenges and achievements of capacity building in cross-border territories as part of the new EU cohesion policy.

This event based on the experiences of the TEIN-network (a network of 12 Training and research institutions from 9 border regions all over Europe), and its partners AEBR and MOT. AEBR was represented by its President Karl-Heinz Lambertz, who chaired the round table discussion, and its Secretary General Martín Guillermo Ramírez.

The German Land of Baden-Wuertemberg hosted this symposium in its representation in Brussels as part of its support to the implementation of the Danube strategy.

High-level speakers representing the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the Association of European Border Regions, the Mission Opérationelle Transfrontalière (MOT) and the new Transfrontier Euro-Institute Network (TEIN) presented their views and shared their experiences with a hundred participants coming from different cross-border territories all over Europe.

It was emphasised that border regions play an essential role in European territorial cohesion, given that they represent 40% of the EU’s territory and more than 30% of its population. The mobility of European workers, consumers, citizens and enterprises is at its greatest in these border regions and cross-border territories, which can therefore be seen as the laboratories for European territorial integration. Therefore, it was claimed that future cohesion policy should take up on their profound experiences and ideas.

The welcome address was delivered by Peter Friedrich, Minister for the Bundesrat, Europe and International Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg, who stated the importance of cross-border cooperation for the European integration process but also for the welfare of border territories. He also stressed the importance of capacity building in all levels involved in the implementation of territorial cooperation programmes and projects.
 
Dr. Wolfgang Streitenberger Adviser to the Director General, Directorate General for Regional Policy, and Dr. Joachim Beck, Director of the Euro-Institute in Kehl, delivered the keynote speeches. They underlined the importance of capacity building in general, but particularly for the right implementation of territorial cohesion. Dr. Streitenberger described how the future territorial cohesion would look like according to the proposal of the European Commission and highlighted some key elements: multifund programmes, sustainable urban development, public-private partnership, the integral territorial approaches and the importance of functional territories (speech available for download). Dr. Beck presented a thorough revision of cross-border cooperation and the objectives of TEIN to strengthen capacities at all levels (please see his presentation).

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Minister-President of the German-speaking Community of Belgium and President of the Association of European Border Regions, chaired the round table discussion with Jean Peyrony, Director of the Mission Opérationelle Transfrontalière, Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid MEP, Pat Colgan, Chief Executive, Special EU Programmes Body, and Josha Frey MdL, President of the Euro-Institute / Transfrontier Euro-Institute Network.  

Main elements raised during the debates, around CBC and capacity building, were the need to professionalize CB actors; the need to be more strategic, with broader and wider scopes and to promote active project pipelines; the role of Euro-Institutes as catalyst of CBC and the need of extend the network of Euro-Institutes, including active universities in border areas, and the implementation of degrees on cooperation projects engineering.
The symposium ended at 19.30 and was followed by an evening reception, giving the participants the chance for networking and to exchange views in a more informal way.

For more information about the co-organisers and hosts:
TEIN:   www.transfrontier.eu
AEBR:  www.aebr.eu
MOT:   www.espaces-transfrontaliers.org/
Land Baden-Wuerttemberg: www.baden-wuerttemberg.de/en/index.html

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