To carry out its services, AEBR interacts with many partners in Europe and beyond. Within almost 50 years of work representing the interests of all border and cross-border regions at all levels, AEBR has developed an extensive network of partners.
AEBR members and non-member border regions
AEBR’s was founded in 1971 by a group of pioneer border and cross-border regions to defend the interest of ALL border regions. Then, our core network is composed of our members and expands on our members’ members and partners. But there are more border regions and cross-border structures in Europe which also benefit from our work, and we hope that one day they will understand the need to support their European network and become AEBR members.
Nevertheless, many of these regions are currently part of our network, and we try to involve them in our activities and projects. Actually, major projects implemented by AEBR are not only addressed to AEBR members: all public authorities and cross-border structures at the EU/EFTA land and maritime borders, and the borders of the EU with the IPA countries are eligible for b-solutions, and all Interreg programmes and projects are eligible for Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY).
The CB Platform
We have built a solid relationship with other major organisations promoting cross-border cooperation (CBC) in Europe. The Central European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives (CESCI) is a full member of the AEBR. The Presidents of both organisations signed with the President of the Mission Opérationelle Transfrontalière (M.O.T) a Joint Declaration in Strasbourg, at the Palais de l’Europe, on 7 October 2021, in the presence of Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General at the time of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, committing to work together to keep CBC in the focus of the European project. Read more
During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the three organisations decided to work closely under the European CB Citizens Alliance. The European Committee of the Regions’ EGTC Platform also joined very actively, with the commitment to institutionalize as much as possible this collaboration. On 17 April 2023 we organized an online and in-person conference Living in Border Regions – Tackling the challenges” at the CoR in Brussels.
In February 2024, the Cross-Border Platform has been announced by the CoR (link and more info to be included).
Networks promoting CBC research and training
We also take part in the following networks:
BIG and 21st Century Borders are led by the University of Victoria (Canada), and build on a vast network of academics and policymakers on various continents. Since 2022, the 21st Century Project collaborates in the organisation of AEBR CB School.
Other Regional Networks
AEBR is also coordinated with other European regional organisations to unite efforts towards common goals, in particular the European Cohesion Policy, such as the #CohesionAlliance promoted by the European Committee of the Regions:
AEBR is founding member of ORU-FOGAR, the Organisation of United Regions / Forum of Global Associations of Regions, established in March 2007 upon initiative of Xabier Gizard, at that time Secretary General of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR).
The first wave of FOGAR members owere organised associations of regions which could be geographical or thematic networks. One example for the latter was the AEBR dealing with cross-border cooperation. For networks, institutions or organisations not fulfilling the criteria for membership, there were also possibilities to participate as associate member or as observer.
Next to the CPMR and AEBR, FOGAR founding organisations were:
After the first years, when there was a focus on United Nations and its agencies, the membership was not sustainable enough and it was decided to open it to regions, while the focus on national associations of regions and municipalities was kept in some areas. The new organisation was re-named ORU-FOGAR (United Regions Organisation), and keeps on working to date to support cooperation between regions and continental and global institutions.
AEBR in the Americas
AEBR has been involved in and led several projects outside Europe to share the knowledge and best practices of cross-border cooperation with policy-makers and local authorities all over the world. These projects have been implemented in Latin America, Africa and Near East within the AEBR Global Initiative and financed by projects’ funds and International Cooperation funds.
The growing number of AEBR projects and other initiatives, particularly in the Americas, has developed a considerable network of public authorities, civil society organisations and other players in most Ibero-American countries. As an example, the partners of the ADELANTE Triangular Cooperation initiative led by AEBR on CB management of natural resources, esp. water basins, decided to launch the Euro-Latin American Network of CB Water Basins in Montevideo on 2023.
This is an updated info on CBC in Latin America (January 2024).
Lobbying for CBC
A primary mission of the AEBR has traditionally been lobbying the EU institutions to promote the interests of border regions. From regular exchanges with desk officers, senior, high-ranking and influential officials, which have traditionally occupied a big part of AEBR’s work, we have passed to implement actions and get involved in specific activities. This has made possible a more systematic approach for those exchanges, yet very important, and a stronger relationship with those directly involved in promoting CBC.
AEBR most relevant partners in the European Institutions are:
We also have a regular relationship with the Council of Europe, and in particular with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE).
Other relevant European partners are:
AEBR keeps regular contact with various national governments, particularly with their departments dealing with CBC. This has been possible thanks to the active participation of our members in Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Serbia, and Spain. The possibility to exchange directly with the national authorities is extremely relevant, especially when dealing with national cross-border strategies and other long-term processes. We are planning to extend these dialogues to further national authorities in Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania. Then, this should continue to cover the maximum number of EU member states and partner countries (neighbours and pre-accession).
In the past, we had regularly exchanged with the Government of the Russian Federation, but this relationship stopped on February 2022. There has also been a frequent relationship with the national authorities in Ukraine for many years. AEBR activities in the Americas also mean regular exchanges with the national governments, in particular Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay.
We also pay a particular attention to supranational or intergovernmental initiatives, and have regular contacts with the Andean Community (CAN), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and Mercosur. And we have tried to build up a stronger relationship with the African Union and some African Regional Economic Communities (REC), but our capacities are far from reaching a decent level of cooperation so far, due to the lack of financial and logistical support.
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