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CLOSER TO BRUSSELS E-MAGAZINE OF THE MAŁOPOLSKA REGION BRUSSELS OFFICE

Cross-border cooperation


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Cross-border cooperation 3

Preface Witold Kozłowski – Marshal of the Małopolska Region

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Cross-Border Cooperation – bringing the EU closer to people Dorota Witoldson

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Cross-border impact assessment: a tool for better regulation and more cohesion Dr Nina Büttgen

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Cross-border cooperation in the field of health protection Henri Levale

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Cross-border cooperation of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region: flagship projects Bruno Chiaverini

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Małopolska conquers Brussels: Cross-border Małopolska. Culture and nature Grzegorz First

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Questio Iuris


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Ladies and Gentlemen! The 26th issue of the „Closer to Brussels” e-magazine is devoted to crossborder cooperation, covering all areas of cultural, social and economic life, and to improving the living conditions of the border population. The model for cross-border cooperation - realizing itself through grassroots initiatives, a regional development strategy, as well as participation in projects implemented from EU funds - should satisfy the local problems of everyday life of border residents, as well as serve, among others, overcoming long-term historical barriers. Border areas cover around 40% of the European Union’s territory and are also home to around 30% of its population. They are an important element in the development of Europe and therefore are of particular interest to decision-makers. In addition to mountain areas, islands, remote and sparsely inhabited regions, the European Commission defines border areas as territories that require special support. As a result of this approach since the 1990s, Interreg programs are implemented in the European Union, co-financing cross-border projects: activities and undertakings serving border residents and tourists. In the current 2014-2020 programming period, over EUR 10 billion has been allocated to interregional cooperation, including approximately EUR 6.6 billion for border regions. Similar plans include a new financial perspective for 2021-2027. In Małopolska, the challenges of territorial cooperation revolve around the biggest economic and environmental problems of modern Europe, as well as our region: innovation as a driving force for development, the environment as a place where we live, and heritage as a valuable resource that needs to be protected and promoted. I hope that this publication will bring you closer to the activities undertaken in Europe in the field of cross-border cooperation, as well as to inspire new projects and transfer of achievements to all areas of the region’s life. We look forward to seeing you at the lecture!

Witold Kozłowski Marshall of the Małopolska Region


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Cross-Border Cooperation – bringing the EU closer to people

DOROTA WITOLDSON Interreg programme manager in DG Regional and Urban Policy at the European Commission since 2010. Her experience is mainly in crossborder cooperation programmes in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. She is currently responsible for the Interreg programmes Poland-Slovakia, Poland-Saxony (which involves the regions of Lower Silesia and part of Lubuskie on the Polish side) and Botnia-Atlantica (Sweden-Finland-Norway). She also works with preparations for the next programming period, simplification and Small Project Funds. She previously worked for the Swedish ministries of foreign affairs and rural development (at the time the ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food) in several Swedish embassies in Central and Eastern Europe, i.a. in Poland. She is a graduate of the College of Europe.

Next year, in 2020, we are celebrating 30 years of Interreg – cooperation between people across European borders. At the same time the over 60 existing cross-border cooperation programmes stand at the doorstep to a new 7-years programming period starting 2021. Interreg has played an important role in Polish border regions in particular since Poland joined the European Union in 2004. With co-financing from the European Union, citizens in Polish border regions have strengthened their relations with fellow Slovaks, Czechs, Germans and Lithuanians across the land borders and with Swedes and Danes across the Baltic Sea. Together they have improved the road infrastructure in cross-border regions. They have developed common management of natural heritage and natural disasters across rivers and mountains. They have built cycling paths and developed common cultural and leisure services making the cross-border regions more attractive for its inhabitants as well as for tourists. School children, youth and adults have participated in exchanges across borders learning from each other and getting to know their neighbours, their culture and language, their way of working. Interreg simply brings people together. It is of tremendous added value for European integration. In today’s Europe with rising nationalism and many challenges requiring common actions at EU level, the benefit of Interreg is more important than ever. At the same


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Interreg simply brings people together. It is of tremendous added value for European integration.

time, the EU expects its budget to shrink, mainly because of the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. Against this background, the European Commission is proposing an even more strategic Interreg design with programmes based on cross-border strategies and focused on priorities improving the living conditions of citizens in the border regions.

Growth

Safety

Health

Connectivity

Trust building

In the next programming period, part of the Interreg portfolio will be dedicated to alleviate border obstacles, which hamper growth in border regions and complicate everyday life of people living there. Border regions cover 40% of EU territory. They are home to 30% of the EU population, i.e. 150 million people. Border regions stand for 30% of the GDP of the EU. At the same time, they are less developed economically and their citizens have a lower access to public services. Navigating different legal and administrative systems is still complex, time-consuming and costly. Therefore, the Commission conducted an inventory of documented legal and administrative obstacles at land borders and published them in the Communication Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions1 from 2017. The communication sets out a number of priorities that need action, for instance facilitating cross-border accessibility, providing reliable and understandable information and assistance, developing cross-border data for better decision-making and promoting pooling of health care facilities and services.

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https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/communications/2017/boosting-growthand-cohesion-in-eu-border-regions


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Another Commission proposal of great importance is the European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM). It is a legal tool providing the possibility to apply the legal system of one Member State in neighbouring Member States in a defined geographical area for a defined time period linked to the implementation of a new infrastructure or service.

In addition to Interreg funding the Commission is financing pilot projects (B-solutions)2 to collect concrete and replicable actions aiming at identifying and applying solutions to legal and administrative obstacles at internal EU borders in the areas of employment, health, multilingualism, public passenger transport and institutional cooperation. A few examples of pilot projects include the development of a cross-border water supply network at the Polish-Lithuanian border, the development of coherent sets of data for better cross-border policy-making at the Polish-Slovak border and the building of a trilateral bridge at the Polish-Czech-German border. Similar projects could be financed by Interreg programmes as well. Another Commission proposal of great importance is the European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM). It is a legal tool providing the possibility to apply the legal system of one Member State in a neighbouring Member State in a defined geographical area for a defined time period linked for instance to the implementation of a new infrastructure or service. In the twin city Frankfurt (Oder)/SĹ‚ubice at the Polish-German border it took years to establish and operate a cross-border bus line. If the ECBM proposal is accepted by the EU Member States, citizens facing similar problems with border obstacles will be able to ask their national authorities to examine their cases and allow for cross-border legal solutions. However, the final decision will always rest with the national authorities. 2

https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/border-regions/pilot-projects/terms/news/b-solutions


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The project “Development of creative interests, an opportunity for an increase in cultural and natural education of the Polish-Slovak borderland”, implemented as part of the umbrella project entitled „We are connected by nature and culture. PWT Interreg V-A PL-SK 2014-2020”, managed by the Union of Euroregion “Tatry” in partnership with the Local Government of Prešov and the Local Government of Žilina. Source: EGTC TATRY archive

A new feature in the Interreg regulation proposal for 2021-2027 is the Small Project Fund. Interreg programmes may set up Small Project Funds for projects in trust-building and for inclusion of under-represented target groups like associations, schools and civil society. Other relevant target groups are small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-enterprises that could benefit from cross-border cooperation in a simplified manner. In this way, the final recipients can benefit from grants based on simplified financing rules. Instead of having to report every cent, a school or a company participating in a small project may benefit from a lump sum amount, which will be paid when all the agreed actions and results have been completed. Small Project Funds already exist in many Interreg programmes including all the cross-border programmes along the Polish borders. However, they are operating without a clear legal framework, they are subject to far too many controls, including at the level of small projects. Finally, implementation of small projects is still too bureaucratic to attract large numbers of non-governmental organisations and enterprises. The great majority of beneficiaries of small projects are public authorities and other public entities that have the required financial and administrative capacity to run them. The same is true for regular cross-border projects. To simplify project management, the Commission is proposing a wider use of simplified cost options such as lump sums and flat rates as well as less audits and controls also for them.


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To boost growth in border regions it is also crucial to involve SMEs in Interreg projects – as target groups, as partners and as beneficiaries.

One cannot over-estimate the enormous significance of networking, finding new partners across the borders as well as in the own country. Many Interreg programmes need to broaden their spectrum of beneficiaries in order to bring new ideas and knowledge to the cross-border regions. Programmes should encourage participation of partners from the academic world, the private sector and NGOs. Therefore, it is also crucial to involve social, environmental and civil society partners in the programming and implementation of Interreg programmes. The Commission encourages the programmes to use technical assistance funding to facilitate the participation of partners. To boost growth in border regions it is also crucial to involve SMEs in Interreg projects – as target groups, as partners and as beneficiaries. In the future, cross-border organisations should also play a greater role in cooperation. For example: at the Polish border with Slovakia there are two cross-border organisations with legal personality (European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation): EGTC Tatry and EGTC Tritia. They could for instance manage Small Project Funds. Likewise, Euroregions should continue to play a significant role in cooperation, including management of Small Project Funds, provided they would gain cross-border legal status.

The project “Beskid Cultural Paradise – a series of events promoting the unique cultural values of the Polish-Slovak borderland”, implemented as part of the umbrella project entitled „We are connected by nature and culture. PWT Interreg V-A PL-SK 2014-2020”, managed by the Union of Euroregion “Tatry” in partnership with the Local Government of Prešov and the Local Government of Žilina. Source: EGTC TATRY archive


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Project “Trail around the Tatra Mountains” co-financed by the European Union under the Interreg V-A Poland-Slovakia program 2014-2020. Source: EGTC TATRY archive

Over the years, the EU has co-financed thousands of excellent projects between Polish border regions and their neighbours. One example involving the Małopolska region is The Historical-Cultural-Natural Trail around the Tatra Mountains3. The project, which has been implemented in several phases since 2014 is aiming at developing a 250 km long loop around the mountains with cycling paths, ski runs and cross-country trails. The Polish-Slovak trail currently counts 160 km of cycling paths and goes through Podhale, Orawa, Spisz and Liptov nearby a number of UNESCO world heritage sites as well as more than 100 natural reserves and Natura 2000 areas. The project partners are the Euroregion Tatry and a large number of municipalities in Małopolska and in Presov and Zilina on the Slovak side. Nevertheless, the great achievements of Interreg remain largely unknown to EU-citizens including decision-makers. Therefore, the Commission has proposed a set of common indicators to capture the actions and the results of Interreg projects and programmes. In the future it will be possible to demonstrate the value of cooperation and trust-building across borders and their contribution to growth and cohesion at EU level. Moreover, decision-makers, journalists and citizens will be able to learn about the achievements in real-time through the already existing Open Data Portal4.

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http://www.szlakwokoltatr.eu/en https://cohesiondata.ec.europa.eu/


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Cross-border impact assessment: a tool for better regulation and more cohesion

Cross-border cooperation, cross-border economic development and cross-border labour mobility may potentially face negative and positive effects from European and national legislation and policies. Such effects may easily thwart the growth potential of border regions or pass off as missed opportunities. DR NINA BÜTTGEN PhD, LL.M, Post-Doc Researcher Since 2018 Nina has been working for the Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross border cooperation and Mobility / ITEM as a researcher, studying legal means to enhance cross-border cooperation among multi-level public administrations and issues of cross-border employment.

The territorial dimension of legislation and the need for (territorial) impact assessments have been debated for a long time. The European Commission (EC) has been a persistent and engaged advocate through its Better Regulation strategy, favouring the implementation of robust impact assessments of legislation that include territorial elements. Hence, there is recognition at EU-level of the need to ‘evaluate the likely impact of policies, programmes and projects on the territory, highlighting the importance of the geographic distribution of consequences and effects and considering spatial developments’ (EC, COM(2015)215).


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The Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross border cooperation and Mobility / ITEM has developed a bottom-up Cross-Border Impact Assessment, seeking to provide more insight into European and national legislative and policy initiatives.

At ITEM, she coordinates the annual publication of the Cross-Border Impact Assessment, contributes to projects of academic and applied research – including for societal stakeholders – and liaises with network partners for enhancing cross-border cooperation. As a graduate of Maastricht University (LL.M, 2008), she received her PhD in socio-legal research (2017) from the same Law Faculty. Next to her academic career, earlier she practised as a consultant in EU public affairs in Brussels and The Hague, leading comparative law missions and supported project work to advance corporate social responsibility for Public Advice International Foundation.

While also the assessment of effects of certain policy/legislation on a crossborder situation may be seen as “territorial impact assessment”, so far the EC’s guiding documents do not discuss specific assessment criteria for border regions. At national level, too, impact assessments on legislation and policy have become a common practice across Europe. Yet, examples abound where legislators have failed to take into account the peculiar effects on border regions that general policies and legislative output may have.1 The Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross border cooperation and Mobility / ITEM has developed a bottom-up Cross-Border Impact Assessment, seeking to provide more insight into European and national legislative and policy initiatives. It is carried out for certain geographic areas, with the expertise of scientists and experts in specific border regions. It is designed to detect and critically reflect on negative and positive crossborder effects of both planned (ex ante assessment) and existing (ex post evaluation) legislation and/or policy initiatives. It is thus to serve as valuable tool for policy makers at regional, national and European level when taking decisions on legislation and regulations with (additional) effects for (cross-) border regions. 1

See M. Unfried & L. Kortese, ‘Cross-border impact assessment as…’ in: J. Beck (ed.), Transdisciplinary Discourses on CBC in Europe (P. Lang, Brussels, 2019), pp. 463-481, at 467.


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Based on this comprehensive methodology to identify existing or future cross-border effects, ITEM’s Cross-Border Impact Assessment builds on a bottom-up approach. Because there is a multitude of individual (cross-) border regions across Europe – each of which with their unique nature – it is essential to keep the assessment method small-scale and respectful to the specificities of a certain border region. When it comes to assessing cross-border effects on border regions, generalisations are usually out of place. Given this distinctive character, general observation teaches that ‘there are few (if any) generic causes of effects on border regions’ (Unfried & Kortese, 2019, 464). After all, so-called “cross-border regions” are vibrant places where national regulations, culture and institutions of peculiarly located neighbouring countries and regions meet and productively intermingle. Territorial demarcation is thus key to ITEM’s research methodology. All researchers first define the border region to which their particular dossier of the Cross-Border Impact Assessment pertains. Care is given to avoid defining from a national perspective, as this may prevent an analysis with a proper cross-border perspective. More helpful is to consider the cross-border Euregion as point of orientation. Building on this demarcation, the actual assessment of cross-border effects is guided by three interrelated research themes (see below) and corresponding principles, benchmarks and indicators. Under the European Integration theme, for example, the ITEM Cross-Border Impact Assessment 2019 reveals how a new Dutch law will bring about changes in the legal status of civil servants (e.g. university staff) with serious (likely inhibitive) consequences for cross-border work.


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The results of the examination of individual dossiers may contribute to reasoned political debate and provide constructive input during the legislative process where the interests of border regions and their inhabitants are at stake.

This year’s Student Dossier on compliance issues with EU environmental standards from (excessive) cross-border manure trade shows the topicality of cross-border research under the theme of Sustainable Socio-Economic Development, as national and regional governments are faced with protests vis-à-vis policy action against climate change. Finally, the theme of Cross-Border Cooperation and the impact on Euregional cohesion are illuminated from various angles. One Dossier debates merits and possible drawbacks of the new “European CrossBorder Mechanism” proposed by the EC to bolster such cooperation. Another offers a preliminary assessment of the new ‘Governance’objective of the INTERREG Regulation 2021-2027. It analyses relevant stakeholders’ respective experiences and expectations – especially with a view to making such cooperation structures more durable. In short, as an on-going endeavour based on a balanced methodology and yearly reports, ITEM’s Cross-Border Impact Assessment seeks to complement other instruments that assess the impact of new or prospective legislation and policy on border regions. Ultimately, its final goal is both: to inform and influence. As it advances additional insights into national and European legislative and policy initiatives, it is also meant as a valuable tool for policy-makers. Notably, the results of the examination of individual dossiers may contribute to reasoned political debate and provide constructive input during the legislative process where the interests of border regions and their inhabitants are at stake.


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Cross-border cooperation in the field of health protection

HENRI LEWALLE Holds a degree in economic and social policy and a Master in employment studies. He specialises in the analysis and comparison of health systems, particularly the study and development of crossborder cooperation projects in the EU. For more than 25 years he has coordinated health and medico-social projects on the Franco-Belgian border and in the Grande Région. He is the author of numerous publications on social security, health systems and cross-border cooperation. He is widely involved in education and training. He is senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the Catholic Institute of Lille (F) and is European health correspondent for the journal L’Éspace social européen.

Throughout history, border regions have been a source of tension and conflict in Europe. Nowadays, cross-border cooperation contributes to reducing border barriers, shortening the distance between nations and business entities. Undertakings for cooperation deepen the process of European integration and allow us to appreciate its measurable effects, in particular in terms of access to border health services thanks to the synergy between the health protection systems of neighboring States.

Healthcare protection: competence of the Member States Healthcare protection is the last area covered by the EU Treaties (Maastricht, 1992). The responsibility for this lies with the Member States. The Court of Justice of the European Union also recalled in its case-law that responsibility for the organization, management, and financing of health protection systems lies with the Member States.


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Undertakings for cooperation deepen the process of European integration and allow us to appreciate its measurable effects.

In 2013, the first Health Protection Directive on access to cross-border healthcare was adopted (2011/24). The directive has been implemented into the legal order of individual Member States, establishing patients’ right to mobility within the European Union.

Institutional support for cross-border cooperation in the field of healthcare Cooperation in the field of healthcare has been supported by the European institutions since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty1. Article 168 §2 states that “the European Union shall encourage cooperation between the Member States in border regions”, Directive 2011/24 in Article 10 §3 states that: ”The Commission shall encourage cooperation between the Member States in the field of cross-border healthcare provision in border regions.” As part of the development of cross-border cooperation in the field of healthcare, the vast majority of project promoters rely on Interreg2 programs, thus benefiting from the European legal system and financial assistance under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 1

December 1, 2009

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In the first edition of the Interreg program, health care was not among the areas covered by support.


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Franco-Belgian cross-border healthcare cooperation is a role model. It began in the early nineties and soon resulted in negotiations of hospital contracts.

Without these tools, cooperation projects would only work to a negligible extent because the state authorities, as well as regional authorities managing health care systems, assume that these systems meet the needs of the population in the field of health care, despite the fact that the existing deficiencies and objective deficiencies cause serious difficulties in access to health services.

Franco-Belgian cooperation Cross-border cooperation in the field of healthcare has developed based on research focused on analyzing and comparing the specificities of health care systems in neighboring countries. On this basis, projects such as the Cerdanya hospital in the Franco-Spanish border region (in Catalonia) or the hospital in the Franco-Belgian border region were then developed, as well as cross-border healthcare areas under the name ÂŤZOASTÂť (access zone for cross-border healthcare).

Franco-Belgian cross-border healthcare cooperation is a role model. It began in the early nineties and soon resulted in negotiations of hospital contracts.3 3

Contract covering dialysis, care for HIV / AIDS patients, ophthalmology, cancer treatment, urology, gastroenterology, radiology, intensive care, rehabilitation, electrophysiology, pediatric emergency ...


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Each year, approximately 20.000 patients receive health services on the other side of the border without any administrative or financial obstacles. In the same way, medical personnel practice on both sides of the border.

Cooperation further deepened following the signature of the first framework cooperation agreement on cross-border healthcare in the EU in 2005. In the period from 2008 to 2015, it led to the conclusion of further agreements regarding the creation of ÂŤZOASTÂť zones. Currently, there are 7 such zones in the border area, in which patients can freely use healthcare in cross-border hospitals covered by concluded contracts. Each year, approximately 20.000 patients receive health services on the other side of the border without any administrative or financial obstacles. In the same way, medical personnel practice on both sides of the border. This kind of cooperation makes it possible to solve problems related to insufficient medical staff. It promotes the creation of health services based on mutual services and undoubtedly improves access to basic health care as well as to emergency medical assistance based on a special contract entitling to second choice treatment (in some places, first choice) by the emergency services of a neighboring country. The framework agreement also sets out the conditions for the treatment of disabled people with French citizenship who are in Walloon facilities.


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Cross-border cooperation of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region: flagship projects THE AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES REGION IS BREAKING DOWN BORDERS WITH ITS EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS

BRUNO CHIAVERINI Works as director for international relations at Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes since August 2016. The delegation of the Region in Brussels as well as the department “Europe, European cooperation and mobility” are part of his team. He started in the private sector and for several years was director of the region’s development agency abroad (northern Italy). Then, he

Two major projects will soon be launched on the Region’s borders with Switzerland and Italy: the Lyon-Turin high-capacity freight link, and the Léman Express service, which will become a real Franco-Swiss RER (Regional Express Network). As the competent authority for sustainable development and mobility, the Region has supported these two projects from the start, as they are critical to the area’s future. The goal is to foster a modal shift from road transport to rail to relieve congestion on major roadways on both sides of the borders, facilitate trade and improve air quality and quality of life in these areas. These projects are complex and large-scale, involving many public and private partners. They also present major technical difficulties. While they are expected to offer extensive economic and social benefits, successful completion will require strong and sustained political commitment.


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“This demonstrates our shared desire to turn the Alps into the first ecological mountain in Europe”

copyright: TELT / autor: TELT

Lyon-Turin: “full support” from regional partners

took the responsibility of director for international relations in the former Rhône-Alpes Region in 1994. From 2005 he became responsible for the international management of the Lyon Chamber of Commerce and Industry. From 2012 to 2016 he held the position of General Delegate of the Committee for the Transalpine Lyon-Turin Link. He is also associate Lecturer at the Lyon 3 University and performs a number of other duties, on a voluntary basis, as for example non-executive general delegate of AIRF (International Association of French-speaking Regions) or administrator of the “Alliance Française” and several French and foreign business clubs.

The Region’s President, Laurent Wauquiez, visited the Lyon-Turin rail link construction site on 24 September 2019. He was accompanied by his counterpart Alberto Cirio, President of the Piedmont Region. Both confirmed their “full support” for this major road-rail link designed to fight pollution and global warming in the Alps. It is estimated that this rail line will remove one million trucks from the roads per year. “This demonstrates our shared desire to turn the Alps into the first ecological mountain in Europe,” said Laurent Wauquiez. The partners have also signed a Green Alps convention to extend their collaboration to other sectors, such as hydrogen technology and biodiversity protection.

Léman Express, a first in Europe The Region is also a major participant in the new transport service inaugurated on 12 December in Annemasse. A real Franco-Swiss RER for the Geneva conurbation, the Léman Express will facilitate the mobility of cross-border commuters while reducing CO2 emissions and noise pollution, since part of the route is underground. In addition to an investment of 350 million euros, 13 of which went to transforming the Annemasse station into a multi-modal exchange hub, the Region has been involved in consultations and negotiations to create a single ticket that would eliminate the “border effect”: the Léman pass. The area covered by the Léman pass includes 10 cross-border or local operators and 9 public transport authorities. This innovative project is the first at this scale in Europe.


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M Peres / autor: M Peres

THE ALPINE RANGE: HISTORIC COOPERATION BETWEEN FRANCE AND ITALY

In the 1990s, local authorities in the Alpine area realised they could use European funds to support cross-border cooperation. A closer look at the “Alcotra” Interreg programme. From 2014 to 2020, the Alcotra programme has contributed 198 million euros in European funding to support territorial stakeholders in the Alpine area in both France and Italy. The mountainous topography generates similar issues on both sides of the border: fragile natural environments, increased risk of climate events, the isolation of cities and villages, the seasonal nature of economic activities, etc. These shared problems have long prompted cooperation between governments to inspire each other and spur innovations in terms of housing, transport, training, tourism, the environment, etc.


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The mountainous topography generates similar issues on both sides of the border: fragile natural environments, increased risk of climate events, the isolation of cities and villages, the seasonal nature of economic activities, etc.

The risk prevention example The cross-border partner networks are currently most effective in the field of risk prevention. The risks of avalanches or landslides, water-related risks, and those pertaining to tunnel operations are particularly well managed. Improved cooperation between rescue services is a very good example of their success. Alcotra aims to help territorial stakeholders extend their cooperation into other areas.

Three calls for projects since 2014 Alcotra’s calls for projects have supported 131 projects in various fields: research and development for businesses, energy efficiency of buildings, the fight against climate change, promotion of sustainable tourism, mobility issues, maintenance of local services, and education and training. These projects have all benefited from the new ideas and contributions generated on both sides of the border.

BioDivConnect coming soon! In February 2020, the French government will take on the presidency of the European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP). The BioDivConnect project, which is funded through Alcotra, will also be launched at that time. It aims to restore ecological continuity on both sides of the Franco-Italian border to facilitate species circulation and reproduction. The Auvergne-RhĂ´ne-Alpes Region is leading this project, which should culminate in a shared strategy in 2023. This example illustrates the processes at work in transnational cooperation programmes with European funding.

International Relations Department


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MAŁOPOLSKA CONQUERS BRUSSELS

Cross-border Małopolska. Culture and nature

The border area plays an important role in the development of Małopolska Region. A glance at the map is enough to notice the great potential of the Nowy Sącz and Podhale subregions. DR GRZEGORZ FIRST Graduate of the Academy of Economics (currently the University of Economics) in Krakow and the Jagiellonian University, he received his PhD in Humanities. Employee of the Marshal Office of the MałopolskaRegion (Department of Sustainable Development), lecturer at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow (Department of History and Cultural Heritage).

However, the Małopolska borderland is not only a geographical area, but above all deeply rooted cooperation with Slovaks, with whom we share a language and a historical community. The Polish-Slovak border area is a territory with intensive settlement since prehistoric times. The border location has influenced ethnic and national diversity, which means that the Małopolska and Slovakian borderlands are an area where various ethnic groups such as Highlanders, Lachy, Pogórzanie, Lemkos, Roma, and in the past Jewish and German national minorities have had their cultural mark. The rich cultural heritage has resulted in a large number of historic buildings, as well as a diverse and difficult to protect intangible heritage.


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Cross-border regions in the European Union

Source: European Commission Communication COM (2017) 534

However, the border area is not only about culture, but also nature. Tatry, Beskidy, Zakopane, Podhale are words – symbols well known beyond Poland. The border area also includes mountain regions, well-known and lesser-known tourist routes, bicycle paths, ski routes and nature protection areas with unique flora and fauna.


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Culture and nature are the two greatest assets and at the same time development potentials of the Polish-Slovak border region.

Culture and nature are therefore the two greatest assets and at the same time development potentials of the Polish-Slovak border region. Their role is reflected in a significant number of projects implemented under the Interreg Program, co-financing joint Polish-Slovak projects of both investment and soft nature. From the rich palette of projects, it is worth mentioning two that help protect, but also promote both the culture and the nature of the border area. The first of them is “On a country road. In the rhythm of the work of former industrial plants and craft workshops“, it is devoted to the former socalled rural industry. Five museums from Poland and Slovakia cooperated in the project (Museum – Orava Ethnographic Park in Zubrzyca Górna, District Museum in Nowy Sącz, Slovenské národné Muzeum, Múzeum oravskej dediny, Oravské múzeum P. O. Hviezdoslava v Dolnom Kubíne). It resulted in the renovation and equipment of craft workshops and industrial plants in the Slovak part of Orava, construction of the folk industry sector of Nowy Sącz area in Nowy Sącz, the extension of the peasant industry path in Orava. What is important, a new tourist product was also created – a cross-border trail of rural industries and crafts. The project also made the museum more attractive by launching new permanent and temporary exhibitions and workshops.

High peat bogs in the Orava Basin Photo: J. Rudnicka (UMWM)


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The second project focused on the unique and little-known natural resource of the border area – peat bogs located in the Orava Valley. The project “High peat bogs – the unique European specimen of the Polish-Slovak borderland” was implemented by the Municipality of Czarny Dunajec (PL) in partnership with the Orava Museum of Pavel Országh Hviezdoslav in Dolny Kubin (CZ). The largest transboundary peat bog complex in the Carpathian Mountains is located in the southern part of Małopolska Region and the northern part of the Žilina Region. Its growth began 10.000 years ago around the town of Chochołów(Czarny Dunajec municipality) and continues to this day. This peat bog complex is not only a rare phenomenon on the Polish-Slovak border but also a priceless environmental rarity, unprecedented in the mountainous areas across Europe. As a result of the project, two multimedia museums of peat bogs of the Polish-Slovak borderland were created in renovated and modernized historic buildings in Chochołów and Oravsky Podzamok municipality. Educational walking as well as cycling paths leading to the aforementioned museums and peat bogs were built along with an accompanying infrastructure. They are a part of the cross-border cycling “historical, cultural and natural trail around the Tatra Mountains”. Eventually, a number of actions were undertaken in order to disseminate knowledge about usually inaccessible transboundary peat bogs areas.

A historic narrow-gauge railway wagon, renovated as part of the project “High peat bogs – the European unique of the Polish-Slovak borderland” Photo. Author


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Effects of the Cross-border Cooperation Program Poland-Slovak Republic 2007-2013

1700 km of established and marked recreational trails

over 100 km of new bicycle paths

220 km

230 km

of water supply networks

of roads

8

47

modern waste treatment plants

renovated historic buildings

over 400 publications

250 products for tourists

Source: EU Atlas of the Polish-Slovak Borderland, Warsaw 2015

It is worth mentioning that this project was chosen by the European Commission as one of 21 finalists from among several hundred projects from all over Europe, competing in the RegioStars Awards 2018 competition for the most original and innovative projects co-financed by European Funds.


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The successes of the projects and the entire Program transfer into the future of cooperation. The Poland-Slovakia Cross-Border Cooperation Program will be continued in the future financial perspective after 2020.

The Interreg VA Poland-Slovakia Cross-Border Cooperation Program, implemented in 2014-2020, supports joint Polish-Slovak projects not only in the protection and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, but also in the development of road and multimodal transport, and the improvement of the quality of vocational education. The projects are also implemented in partnership with entities from the Śląskie and Podkarpackie Regions. The program is recognised by a high level of EU funds spending. At the end of 2018, it was 28.4% of its budget, which placed it 11th among all 76 Interreg cross-border cooperation programs in Europe. During the four years of implementation of the Program, over 128 million euro has been granted – 52 cross-border projects received support. Within the framework of the Program the most projects are implemented in the area of natural and cultural heritage protection as well as road infrastructure. Other goals such as education, multimodal transport are less popular. The successes of the projects and the entire Program transfer into the future of cooperation. The Poland-Slovakia Cross-Border Cooperation Program will be continued in the future financial perspective after 2020. Its framework is currently under development and includes: expected projects, financing conditions, and thematic scope.


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Questio Iuris Strasburg, 29.05.2018 r. 2018/0198 (COD)

REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context

(…) Whereas: (1) T  he harmonious development of the entire Union territory and greater economic, social and territorial cohesion imply the strengthening of territorial cooperation. To this end it is appropriate to adopt the measures necessary to improve the implementation conditions for actions of territorial cooperation. (2) A  rticle 174 of the Treaty recognises the challenges faced by border regions and provides that the Union should pay particular attention to these regions, when developing and pursuing actions leading to the strengthening of the Union’s economic, social and territorial cohesion. Due to the increase in the number of land and maritime borders, the Union and its immediate neighbours in the European Free Trade Association (‘EFTA’) have forty internal land borders. (3) I n its Communication ‘Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions’1 (‘the Border Regions Communication’) the Commission sets out that over the past decades, the European integration process has helped internal border regions to transform from mainly peripheral areas into areas of growth and opportunities. The completion of the Single Market in 1992 has boosted Union productivity and reduced costs through the abolition of customs formalities, harmonisation or mutual recognition of technical rules and lower prices as a result of competition; intra-EU trade has increased by 15% over 10 years; additional growth has been generated and around 2.5 million more jobs have been created.

1

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament ‘Boosting growth

and cohesion in EU border regions’ - COM(2017) 534 final, 20.9.2017, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2017%3A534%3AFIN


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(…) have adopted this regulation:

ARTICLE 1 Subject matter 1. This Regulation sets up a mechanism to allow for the application in one Member State, with regard to a cross-border region, of the legal provisions from another Member State, where the application of the legal provisions of the former would constitute a legal obstacle hampering the implementation of a joint Project (‘the Mechanism’). 2. The Mechanism shall consist of one of the following measures a) the conclusion of a European Cross-Border Commitment, which is self-executing, b) t he conclusion of a European Cross-Border Statement which would require a legislative procedure in the Member State. 3. T  his Regulation also lays down a) the organisation and tasks of Cross-border Coordination Points in the Member States, b) t he coordinating role of the Commission with respect to the Mechanism, c) t he legal protection of persons resident in a cross-border region with regard to the Mechanism. (…)

ARTICLE 4 Member States’ options for resolving legal obstacles 1. Member State shall either opt for the Mechanism or opt for existing ways to resolve legal obstacles hampering the implementation of a joint project in cross-border regions on a specific border with one or more neighbouring Member States. 2. A Member State may also decide, with regard to a specific border with one or more neighbouring Member States, to join an existing effective way set up formally or informally by one or more neighbouring Member States. 3. Member States may also use the Mechanism in cross-border regions on maritime borders or in cross-border regions between one or more Member States and one or more third countries or one or more overseas countries and territories. 4. Member States shall inform the Commission about any decision taken under this Article.


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EDITOR EN CHIEF: Renata Jasiołek CONTACT WITH THE EDITORS: Małopolska Region Brussels Office rue de la Science 41, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium bruxelles@umwm.malopolska.pl DESIGN: ccpg.com.pl

Profile for Blizej Brukseli

Closer to Brussels, no 26 "Cross-border cooperation"  

E-magazine of Małopolska Region Brussels Office

Closer to Brussels, no 26 "Cross-border cooperation"  

E-magazine of Małopolska Region Brussels Office

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