“Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions” is the title of the communication that EU Commission adopted in Brussels on 20th September 2017.
The communication is the result of two years long research and dialogue with local authorities across borders and various stakeholders. The aim of the communication is to reduce administrative and legal obstacles of cross-border interaction smoothing cooperation and cohesion among EU internal border-regions. These regions cover the 40% of EU territory accounting for 150 million people.
Since 1990 Interreg program has been supporting cross-border cooperation financing projects and initiatives to improve connectivity and cohesion, boost economic growth and undertake a path of trust through people to people projects. Despite positive results difficulties still persist: lack of information; complicated administrative procedures; lack of coordination; different tax regimes; different living standards.
In order to tackle them, the Commission has developed a “Border Focal Point” aiming at providing key actors with support to address cross-border issues, sharing experiences and good practices, ensuring that the Commission will take into due account the cross-border regional dimension in its future key actions. Within this framework, the Commission intends to address 10 key actions: deepening cooperation and exchanges; improving the legislative process; enabling cross-border public administration; providing reliable and understandable information and assistance; supporting cross-border employment; promoting border multi-lingualism; facilitating cross-border accessibility; promoting greater pooling of health-care facilities; considering the legal and financial framework for cross-border cooperation; building evidence of cross-border interaction to inform decision-making.
As EU internal border regions contribute significantly to the wealth of Europe, evidence shows that by reducing administrative and legal discontinuities much can be gained. This is the reason why EU Commission will continue to contribute to the progress of border regions funding programmes to boost their development.