AEBR's growing involvement in ESPON: CPS and CB TIA:


The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) is involved in two ESPON targeted analyses: Cross-Border Public Services (CPS) and Territorial Impact Assessment for Cross-Border Cooperation (TIA-CBC). Here you can find CPS Final Report’s executive summary, synthesis report, scientific report and main report; as well as the Practical Guide.

CPS Project

Cross-border public services - Opportunities for border regions

One day before the AEBR Annual Conference in Oulu, Finland, ESPON completed its project "Cross-border Public Services (CPS)" and the resulting Practical Guide for the development of public services which are provided jointly by public authorities on both sides of the border. The “Cross-border Public Services (CPS)” is a targeted analysis aimed to improve delivery practices of such services in European border-regions and to increase awareness about the added value of CPS provision. Ten stakeholders engaged very actively to carry out a survey examining the provision of CPS across Europe. The results reflect the very different conditions of border regions in Europe: internal and external borders, sparsely or densely populated areas, mountain or coastal regions, etc.

With no claim to completeness, in one year almost 579 CPS were identified, of which nearly 30% were found in the 10 study areas: environment protection, civil protection, disaster management, transport, spatial planning, economic development, tourism, culture, health care and labour market challenges.

Generally, the analysis confirmed what the European Commission had found out in its study on border obstacles: unfavourable legal and administrative conditions are the biggest impediment to the establishment of CPS. The presentation of this project was therefore very well integrated into the agenda of AEBR’s annual conference,  during which also the results of the EU investigation were presented. The steering group took occasion of the conference to illustrate both the added value of CPS and also to bring practical examples showing how solutions for cooperation can be found despite the existence of legal and administrative obstacles.

The main motives and needs to create CPS are the improvement of the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of public services provided jointly on both sides of the border. In addition to this general benefit, CPS avail cross-border areas because they:

- reduce negative effects of borders, e.g. they enable increased cultural integration through a growing understanding of and familiarity with the neighbour or create new common interests and needs;

- create better connections that facilitate access to services or utilities. As a matter of fact, improved accessibility and greater scope of services can improve their quality as knowledge and resources can be used from both sides of the border;

- support mobility, e.g. providing better information on how neighbouring regions can complement each other with their services (cultural, social, medical etc.) or cross-border use of labour markets;

-increase awareness of cross-border development opportunities in the areas of work, healthcare, recreation or education. This improves the image of a cross-border region, which affects positively its economic attractiveness.

CPS also encourage - especially in less developed or sparsely populated border areas but not only -:

- closure of gaps in national supply of services or the creation of non-existent cross-border opportunities for which normally there are no national arrangements;

- the introduction of changes in a cross-border region because common problems can be tackled more (e.g. faster patient transport or disaster relief);

- a more cost-effectively provision of services thanks to the joint endeavour which has a more widespread reach for economic use.

The steadily growing number of CPs in Europe suggests that there is considerable potential for the development of joint public services which are provided on both sides of a border despite all the obstacles that still exist.

Final Report’s executive summary, synthesis report, scientific report and main report.

Practical Guide.

AEBR statement on CPS Draft Final Report.

AEBR statement on CPS Practical Guide.

More information on the analysis on CPS as well as the resulting reports can be found here.

Contact: ESPON, Nicolas Rossignol, 00352 2060028019, mail


Territorial Impact Assessment for Cross-Border Cooperation  

ESPON targeted analysis on "Territorial Impact Assessment for Cross-Border Cooperation". The aim of the action is to develop a sturdy methodology to assess the impact of CBC programmes since, to date, a model which is widely applicable is still missing. There are many different structures to implement cooperation projects among border regions, and many are also the endeavours by the European Union to foster collaboration amongst local politicians. ESPON's objective is to understand which elements in cross-border cooperation are best suited to ensure territorial development of border regions to improve future actions.

In the next year, the project team will work together with practitioners from five INTERREG programmes to provide a systematic tool to seize the chances brought thanks to CBC programmes. ESPON EGTC is working closely with ÖIR GmbH, the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies; Maastricht university and University of Liverpool. Stakeholders of the activity are the INTERREG programmes Germany - Netherlands, Sweden - Norway, Romania - Bulgaria, United Kingdom - Ireland, and Spain – Portugal. On these territories the analysis will focus in the preliminary phase. The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), as well as the MOT, DG REGIO and the European Committee of the Regions, participates to provide information to the activity if necessary, and also to support the communication and dissemination of the results.

Thanks to the methodology that will be developed, it will be easier to evaluate the use of EU funds for cross border cooperation and thus a more efficient approach to the distribution of funding can ensue in the future. Furthermore, practitioners, policy makers as well as decision-makers and the general public can be better informed about the results of CBC programmes, compelling a wider understanding of the need to pursue closer collaboration amongst border regions.

On 11 September 2018, a stakeholder workshop of the action “TIA for CBC” took place in Vienna. Participants met to reach an agreement on the methodological approach to be adopted and to review the work that the project team has done so far. In this regard, stakeholders and researchers discussed the details of the survey they will lead so to ensure mutual understanding and thus deeper involvement from all stakeholders.

Important steps have been set down: stakeholders demanded that a strong focus on cross-border cooperation leads the analysis. A long-term perspective will be adopted, and the applicability of the assessment to a larger scale will be secured. The objective is indeed to create a methodology which can respond to the needs of all CBC practitioners throughout the EU and serve the goal of guarantying good governance in border regions. This will be achieved by this valuable effort in Mid-2019, when the results will be finalised and further communicated.

<< back