Euroregion Nestos-Mesta

28 March 2014: AEBR Executive Committee Meeting in Drama (Greece), Euroregion Nestos-Mesta :

AEBR Executive Committee members in Drama (Greece), Euroregion Nestos-Mesta (Source: Argyris Sidiropoulos)

(=> Article available in English and French; German to follow soon).

The Greek partner of Euroregion Nestos-Mesta hosted the spring meeting of the AEBR Executive Committee on 28th March 2014 in Drama. The meeting was opened by Kyriakos CHARAKIDIS, Mayor of Drama, and Ann-Sofi BACKGREN, First Vice-President of AEBR.


30 members of the AEBR Executive Committee, representing border regions from all across Europe, were present and discussed about the recent publication of the Cohesion Policy, Territorial Cooperation and EGTC regulations 2014-2020 and the position of the AEBR in this regard (the regulations are available for download:

A debate followed on the need to establish a better coordination amongst AEBR members regarding CB indicators, evaluation, fine replica watch and impact.

AEBR Secretary General Martín GUILLERMO informed the Executive Committee about the AEBR Forum on CBC in the Mediterranean and Black Sea area held on 27th March in Kavala (, and the lessons learned for the future. He also referred to the CoR-AEBR Seminar “The Participation of the Citizens from Border Regions in the Operational Programmes – The Case of the EGTC” held at the Committee of the Regions premises in Brussels on 19th November 2013 (you can find the final programme and the proceedings of this event via the following link:

A review of the AEBR General Assembly and Annual Conference 2013 ( followed, and a first draft programme for the 2014 event was presented. The 2014 AEBR General Assembly will take place in Rzeszów (Subcarpathian Voivodeship) hosted by the Polish Association of Carpathian Euroregion on 11th September 2014, which will be followed by the Annual Conference (11th-13th September). The Executive Committee decided that “Innovation and CBC: the participation of the private sector” will be the topic of the Annual Conference. On 13 and 14 September 2014, the third edition of the Alpine-Carpathian Cooperation Forum will take place in Rzeszów as well. This Forum is complemented with a Fair on Regional Development (

Another interesting debate focused on the need for AEBR to be more operational, concentrating on several programmes like Horizon 2020 and others to develop projects related to innovation, ICTs, environment, brain-drain, labour mobility and other labour market related issues. Macroregional strategies implemented in AEBR members’ territories and its relationship with mainstreaming programmes should be another option to promote CBC.

Three working groups were proposed to initiate tasks aimed at implementing concrete projects:

  • Interreg A programmes follow up, partnerships, etc.
  • Border Info Centers and CB Labour Market related issues.
  • Capacity Building in the Balkans

The Task Force Culture is also foreseen to produce some project proposals. And another group was proposed related to the Programme HORIZON 2020.

It was also decided to support the German Association of Passenger Rail Authorities (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Schienenpersonen-nahverkehr - BAG-SPNV), who elaborated a position paper on cross-border railway connections. They are looking for supporters for their initiative, after confirming that cross-border rail services have been reduced or cancelled all over Europe, and many others are under risk. This means less accessibility for citizens and tourists in many European border regions, leading to economic and social disadvantages compared with regions more centrally located. Possibilities of concrete collaboration (common declaration/event) will be explored.

From left: Jens Gabbe, AEBR Advisory Committee Chairman, and Kyriakos CHARAKIDIS, Mayor of Drama

The AEBR Executive Committee also took some decisions with regard to the organisational structure.

Mr Jean-Marie BELLIARD, Région Alsace, was nominated as Vice-President of the AEBR until the next AEBR elections.

The official membership application of Eurodistrict Regio PAMINA as full AEBR member was approved as well.

The AEBR Info Centre in Kharkiv( was ratified, and other possibilities of AEBR Antennas and planned AEBR events were discussed. The coordinators of the AEBR Task Forces gave a short summary of recent activities.

On the occasion of this meeting, Jens GABBE, Chairman of the AEBR Advisory Committee, received the City Honour Award of the Municipality of Drama. The award was handed over by Kyriakos CHARAKIDIS, Mayor of Drama, who thanked Mr. GABBE for his long contribution and support to the development of the Region of Drama  (Photos etc.:

More information about Euroregion Nestos-Mesta:

Euroregion Nestos-Mesta was founded in 1992 and joined AEBR in 1997 as full member. The Euroregion covers the Drama Regional District in the Region of East Macedonia – Thrace in Greece and the River Mesta Region in the Region of Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria. 

Euroregion Nestos – Mesta structure comprises of two units that of the Bulgarian Side and that of the Greek Side respectively. The Eurorergion is registered in the two countries as non-Profit non-Governmental organizations according to the national legislation of each country.  

Both sides have equal rights in the organization and co-Chair the presidency of the management. The secretariat of the organization is located in Drama.

Euroregion Nestos-Mesta was winner of the AEBR Award Sail of Papenburg 2010 ( 

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