Union of Municipalities of Eastern-Western Thrace - TrakyaKent

AEBR Executive Committee Meeting held on 18 May 2012 in Istanbul/Turkey:

Source: Municipal Association of East West Thrace TRAKYAKENT

Nearly 40 representatives of European Border and Cross-Border Regions attended the AEBR Executive Committee meeting, which was held in Istanbul on 18 May 2012.

AEBR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and the host Euroregion Trakiakent welcomed the participants during the official opening. Major Op. Dr. Adem Dalgiç, Major of Tekirdag and President of " Trakiakent" also welcomed AEBR representatives in Tekirdag the following day.

Following the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 April 2012 in Brussels, the Executive Committee members discussed about the current status of EU Neighbourhood Policy. MEP Joachim Zeller, rapporteur of the Committee for Regional Development of the European Parliament, requested the AEBR to contribute to the draft opinion on the new European Neighbourhood Instrument.

With regard to the ETC and CBC in the next programming periode (2014-2020), the Executive committee members were informed about the fact that a new reviewed version of the AEBR position paper on the draft regulations was under on-going update. The latest version as well as an overview of these latest contributions were discussed. The results of the Interreg management Seminar celebrated at the CoR on Friday 20th  April as well as the arguments and conclusions posed at the seminar will be used to further complete this position paper. More than hundred people attended this seminar and had the chance to listen to the new Director General of DG Regio, Mr. Water Deffaa, in his first appearance on an event organized by regional associations. The Secretary General of the Committee of the Regions, and experts from border and cross-border regions all over Europe gathered and showed their satisfaction with the initiative of the AEBR. Mr. Petr Osvald, CoR rapporteur on the the “CoR Working Paper on ETC”, was present, too.

European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC): The Executive Committee members were informed that the association took part in the joint hearing of members of the European Parliament and the CoR on "European Territorial Co-operation and its instruments" on 11 April 2012 in Brussels. AEBR commented on the report on the EGTC regulation (rapporteur Joachim Zeller).
Another relevant proposal related to the ETC is the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), on which the CoR COTER Commission prepared a questionnaire on the regulation proposal on establishing the Connecting Europe Facility: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/1200 (general information). In this regard, MEP Markus Pieper (Vice-Chairman of the Committee for Regional Development, rapporteur in the European Parliament) requested the AEBR to provide arguments for including border regions in the funding of the Connecting Europe Facility:

With regard to current projects, information was given on the ULYSSES project and its complexities, as well as the preparation of CROSS-ADD and PROMETEUS. The Grundvigt funded project ScultBord would offer AEBR’s staff the possibility to meet personnel from AEBR member regions while extending awareness of culture as a perfect vehicle to promote CBC.  The project Improving information for cross-border workers in European border regions is offering a unique chance to analyse labour dynamics across borders. Here, a critical group of experts have been gathered in order to produce accurate recommendations for policy-makers to tackle current problems in cross-border labour markets: appropriate information and convey social security and taxation issues, youth and long-term unemployment, brain-drain, etc.

The Secretary General also reported about other projects implemented by the AEBR regarding promotion of CBC in Latin America and Africa, which render enormous benefits and visibility:
•    African CBC project, Final Report.
•    Latin American CBC project, Final Report.
•    CBC in the Paraná River, Inception Report. 
•    EU-Latin America collaboration on CBC in the framework of Regional Policy, Inception Report.
•    Information Session 1 (EU Latin America collaboration…), with activities in Gronau, EUREGIO (DE/NL); Eupen, Maastricht and Aachen, Euregio Meuse-Rhine (BE-NL-DE); Brussels; Euregio Bayerisches Wald-Böhmerwald-Mühlviertel (DE-CZ-AT) and EuRegio Salzburg-Berchtesgadener Land-Traunstein (AT-DE).
•    Information Session 2, with activities in Extremadura (ES), Alentejo (PT), Navarra (ES), Working Community of the Pyrenees (ES-FR-AD), Basque Country (ES) and Aquitaine (FR).

Furthermore, the AEBR was also requested to support the initiative “Carpathian Horizon 2020”, initiated by the Association Carpathian Euroregion Poland and its partner organisations from Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania. The strategy has the aim to foster the social and economic development in the Carpathian Euroregion and should be implemented as own transnational operational programme in the funding period 2014-2020 co-financed by the European Union.

The meeting continued with short reports of the AEBR Task Forces about their activities:
Task Force External Borders: Chairman Johannes Moisio, Regional Council of South Karelia,  reported on the preparation of the IV AEBR Youth Forum, to be organized in Friuli Venezia Giulia and Croatia from 23rd to 27th July 2012.

Task Force Cross-Border Health: Chairman Eric Jakob, REGIO BASILIENSIS, reported on present discussions and perspectives for this strategic Task Force.

The Secretary General informed about the fact that some regions and institutes applied for AEBR membership. The Executive Committee approved the applications of:
•    MittSkandia
•    Kvarken Council
•    Institute of Spatial Planning Kaliningrad (advisory member)
•    North East Partnership Northern Ireland

Information was also provided on some other contributions regarding the following topics:

HORIZON 2020: Proposal for a regulation on establishing Horizon 2020 - The new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (after the 7th Framework Programme).

EUROPE 2020: Participation in the Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform, conducting a survey of EU local and regional authorities to monitor the implementation of Europe 2020 on the ground. The outcome will feed into the 3rd CoR Monitoring Report on Europe 2020 as a contribution to the European Commission's 2012 Annual Growth Survey:

Common Strategic Framework regulation: The CoR is preparing an opinion on the Commission's proposal for a Common Strategic Framework, aimed at coordinating the use of the Structural Funds in view of the Europe 2020 and cohesion goals. The AEBR is taking part in the survey. The contributions will feed into Mr Woźniak's draft opinion and also into the 3rd CoR Monitoring Report on Europe 2020:

AEBR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz concluded the meeting, thanking the host region once again for their hospitality.


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