Cross-Border Regions: Priority on the Presidency of the Council of the European Union’s Agenda, 2015

Although, of crucial importance to local (and in some cases to national) economies in most of the EU Member States*, cross-border regions and work flow in this area does not often reach top discussions among the highest EU stakeholders, due to low number of mobile workers (e.g. compared to the US).

This year, cross-border regions are among the priorities of this year Council’s priorities, under the Luxembourgish Presidency that organized a workshop in this context. The purpose of this workshop was to explore the potentials of a political debate on the benefits of specific legal provisions in border regions, and of preparing such a political debate by critically assessing different options. The target audience of the workshop were policymakers, scientific researchers, and stakeholders from all sectors at the European, transnational, national, regional and local level.

The agenda can be found here. The workshop was divided into three main sessions. Session 1 dealt with the issues and rules hampering cross-border cooperation, where the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT) presented the results of a survey on cross-border impediments and obstacles. Session 2 dealt with probably the most spread instrument to investigate developments in cross-border regions, that is the “Observation”. The need for empirical observation in support of planning for cross-border territories and took the form of a panel discussion. Session 3 consisted of thematic workshops addressing different sectors (Spatial planning, mobility, environment b) Labour market, economy, innovation, c) Health care, social affairs, education).

One of the largest cross-border organizations in the European Union, Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT, France) was invited to prepare a report on the basis of their survey and the conclusions of the workshop. It is this report that will serve as an input paper for the political process under the Luxembourgish Presidency and will be made available on this website in July 2015. * For example, cross-border territories in between 4 countries of Grand Region (France, Belgium, Germanyand Luxembourg) produce 2.5% of EU’s national GDP.

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