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CoR adopts own opinion on Cross-border Public Services in Europe

On 3-4 February 2021, the European Committee of the Regions has adopted an own opinion proposed by rapporteur Pavel Branda (CZ/ECR), Vice-President of AEBR, on Cross-border Public Services (CPS) in Europe.

 

The objectives of the opinion are twofold: raising awareness about the need for a better legal framework for the management of cross-border public services, addressing the needs of European citizens living in border regions; and calling for the adoption of the Commission’s proposal of a European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM) which could greatly facilitate cross border public services and lies blocked in the Council.

This Opinion calls on Member States and regions with legislative powers to establish permanent, cross-administration national CB contact points, to exchange experiences, discuss specific challenges in particular borders, coordinate the implementation of the acquis communautaire, and remove border obstacles.

This Opinion also looks at the smaller budget for CBC in the next MFF, calling on Member States to jointly allocate part of their additional resources within REACT-EU to CBC programmes, helping an efficient restart and strengthening of CBC after the COVID-19 crisis, including support to develop CPS or sanitary corridors.

The opinion entails policy recommendations addressing European, national, regional and local authorities, urged to work together according to the partnership principle. These recommendations include:

  • the need for an EU legal framework to allow for an efficient establishment and management of cross-border public services;
  • the adoption of the European cross-border mechanism (ECBM);
  • the need for cooperation among European, national and regional authorities for a cross-border-friendly implementation of EU law and better coordination;
  • the role of cross-border structures;
  • the potential of funding tools such as Interreg and other mainstream regional programmes (ERDF and ESF), but also of the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery instrument and the REACT-EU initiative;
  • the opportunities offered by digitalisation with e-services, and also the potential use of Artificial Intelligence;
  • the role of local small and medium-sized providers;
  • the need for improved cross-border connectivity;
  • better promotion and monitoring of CPS, also on the external borders of the EU;
  • the regret for the opportunities Member States have missed during the recent pandemic of COVID-19 when they instinctively and unilaterally closed borders, without coordinating and consulting neighbouring states and also local and regional authorities s in border regions.

The CoR plans a long-term vision of the future of cross-border cooperation in the European Union and request for legislation that would guarantee minimum standards for cross-border cooperation.

The full opinion by the CoR is available here in all EU languages.

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