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b-solutions

b-solutions is a pilot initiative to tackle legal and administrative border obstacles along EU internal land borders. It is promoted by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) and managed by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) as one of the actions proposed in the Communication “Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions“.

Two calls for proposals have been implemented within b-solutions so far. The first call opened in early 2018, and the second in early 2019. And two more follow in 2020 and 2021.

The essence of the b-solutions is to provide solutions for cross-border hindrances of a legal and administrative nature. This means that border-adjacent municipalities and regions as well as cross-border entities have the chance to submit information about a border-related legal or administrative obstacle they face. Successful candidates are assigned support from the European Commission to remove these  border-related obstacles.

The first call for proposals addressed cross-border partnerships and structures from internal EU and, potentially, EFTA as associated partners’ land borders. The aim was to receive proposals for pilot actions showing projects which overcome legal and administrative border challenges presenting innovative solutions. 10 participants were awarded a sub-grant of up to € 20,000 each to support the realisation of the project.

The second call for proposals addressed public authorities and cross-border entities from internal EU borders, with the possibility to involve also partners from EFTA countries. The objective of the second call was to involve public authorities which experience obstacles of administrative and/or legal nature hampering cross-border cooperation and support them document such obstacles. 33 applicants were awarded the support of experts who advised them in assessing the hindrance from its legal and administrative context, and envisaged possible ways to overcome the difficulties.

The results of implemented projects and received consultations in the course of the implementation of the first part of b-solutions have been published in the Summer of 2020. A compendium of the reports highlights best practices and replicable solutions which can benefit cross-border cooperation practitioners all over Europe. The volume b-solutions: Solving Border Obstacles, includes the background, a detailed methodology, an overview of the proposed solutions per thematic area and the main conclusions, including lessons learned and policy recommendations. The Annex includes summaries of the reports prepared for 43 cases selected in 2018 and 2019. This publication offers a great opportunity to build capacities to handle legal and administrative obstacles in CBC, to promote the exchange of information between practitioners of cross-border cooperation on these issues, affecting most aspects of their daily work, and to get inspiration to identify similar obstacles in other border areas.

​Last Summer, a third call for proposals was launched to select more cases of border obstacles. The call remain opened until October 2020 and 23 new applications were selected to receive technical specialised support. The cases are currently under implementation.

On January 15, 2021 AEBR, on behalf of the European Commission, has opened a fourth and final call for proposals: public bodies and cross-border structures are invited to apply to find solutions to cross-border obstacles of a legal and administrative nature. The call will remain open until March 11, 2021. Find more information here.

The latest updates on b-solutions can be found on the dedicated website (see below) and on the online platform “Boosting EU border regions”.

How can a border region participate in b-solutions?

Border regions which are eligible to participate in b-solutions should  apply to the calls of proposals launched by AEBR. Information on future calls will be shared on https://www.b-solutionsproject.com/ and on https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/border-regions.

 

Duration: From December 2017 to December 2021

AEBR role in B-solutions pilot initiative: holder of a Commission’s grant (DG Regio); manager of this initiative

 

Outputs/Deliverables:

  • 10 individual actions identified via the first call; and
  • 33 cases with border-related obstacles analysed within the second call.
  • A Compendium of solutions identified for specific border obstacles/difficulties in conclusion on the two calls, with lessons learned and specific policy recommendations. You can find the Compendium here, and its Annex with summaries of the reports here.

 

What will the members of AEBR gain from b-solutions:

  • Increased knowledge of cross-border cooperation and, specifically, of policy recommendations to facilitate overcoming legal or administrative obstacles to cross-border cooperation and of solutions mitigating their negative impact;
  • Increased visibility of AEBR, especially toward European institutions and, particularly, DG REGIO;
  • Strengthening of the network of stakeholders in border regions throughout the EU.

 

Responsible persons in AEBR: Martín Guillermo Ramírez, Anna Cinzia Dellagiacoma, Giulia Brustia.

e-mail: b-solutions@aebr.eu

 

Link to b-solutions web-page: https://www.b-solutionsproject.com/

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