Identifying obstacles to cross-border cooperation with b-solutions’ second call for proposals :



 

The second call for proposals for the selection of thirty-five advice cases under the pilot initiative b-solutions closed on 12th April 2019. 44 cases have been submitted, being most popular topic “institutional cooperation” followed by “public transport of passengers” and “employment”. 35  winning cases will be granted an expert support in legal/administrative matters to elaborate a possible solution. We also explore how b-Solutions cases can provide arguments to support the Commission’s proposal of a European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM).

The second call for proposals for the selection of thirty-five advice cases under the pilot initiative b-solutions closed on 12th April 2019.

Promoted by DG Regio, the initiative is aimed at tackling legal and administrative border obstacles along EU internal borders. To do so, cross-border practitioners have been offered the possibility to describe real and documented obstacles experienced while cooperating with the neighbouring country. The objective of the project is to document obstacles to cross-border cooperation which are identified bottom-up so to increase knowledge on CBC and to formulate innovative policy recommendations addressing the needs of border regions.

The call envisaged eight different thematic areas, according to the communication “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in European Border Regions” adopted by the EU Commission on 20th September 2017, namely: eGovernment, Employment, Evidence and Data, Health, Information Services, Institutional Cooperation, Multi-lingualism, Transport.

Among the forty-four cases submitted during the second call for proposals, the most popular topic is “institutional cooperation” followed by “public transport of passengers” and “employment”.

EGTCs, regional authorities, municipalities and other euroregions from fifteen European countries participated in the call. Difficulties to cooperate have been detected on twenty-one different internal borders and two EFTA countries, stretching from Portugal to the eastern borders of the Union, from Norway to Italy and Greece.

The thirty-five winning cases that will be identified by the Selection Committee will be granted an expert support in legal/administrative matters applied to cross-border regions in order to elaborate a possible solution for the obstacle described.

AEBR will announce the list of successful applications soon and will share all the future updates on the platform “Boosting EU Border Regions” put at disposal by the European Commission.

Also, while the second call was open, AEBR invited the representatives of two pilot projects selected with the first call for proposals of b-solutions, currently under implementation, to a workshop organised in Saarbrucken (Saarland, Germany) on 5 April 2019, to explore how b-Solutions cases can provide arguments to support the Commission’s proposal of a European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM). This mechanism is the result of an early proposal presented by Luxembourg during their Presidency of the European Council in 2015, and a process of analysis with a variety of stakeholders during 2016 and 2017 promoted by Luxembourg and France and including other Member States. The MOT coordinated this working group, and the overall approach has been integrated by the Commission in its proposal from 29 May 2018.

Frédéric Siebenhaar (EGTC Euro-District PAMINA) and Florence Jacquey (EGTC Greater Region Summit Secretariat) explained the obstacle they identified in their border regions and presented the projects they are realising to overcome administrative and legal hurdles. Whether regarding healthcare issues or geo-topographic aspects, whenever there are asymmetries in the collection and management of data, public authorities need to act to make the life of citizens in European border regions easier.

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