For its 114th plenary session, the Committee of the Regions turned its attention to the draft opinion presented by the rapporteur, Nikola Dobroslavic, entitled "Strengthening Cross-border Cooperation: the need for a better regulatory framework?".
This opinion was drawn up on the request of the Luxembourg Presidency which has made the strengthening of cross-border cooperation one of its priorities. The Luxembourg approach was presented to the Committee of the Regions' Bureau members by the Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Camille Gira, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Committee of the Regions in Luxembourg on 2 September 2015.
In his report, the rapporteur-general highlighted the advantages of the Luxembourg proposal, which is tailored to deal with the well defined obstacles to a concrete project. This proposal aims to build a European model of cross-border agreements with an instrument which authorises two or more local and regional authorities to agree on common legislation with a view to implementing specific cross-border projects. He welcomed the launch of the debate on this new legislative instrument, as well as the analysis initiated by the European Commission which aims to complete an inventory of the obstacles and solutions in this field.
The members of the Committee of the Regions welcomed this opinion favourably and all praised the fact that this subject, which is of fundamental importance for cities and cross-border regions, has been brought to the forefront.
Roby Biwer, Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions and a member of the Luxembourg delegation, highlighted the opportunity presented by the Luxembourg proposal "to free the potential of cross-border cooperation which, to date, has not been exploited because of these obstacles". He called on his colleagues to "follow through" on the Luxembourg Presidency's initiative and send a strong political message to European institutions about the need to put this problem on their agenda.
Kieran McCarthy welcomed the Luxembourg Presidency's so-called "bottom-up" approach and highlighted the huge benefits which cross-border cooperation could bring to citizens and, above all to small local projects. His colleague, Helma Kuhn-Theis, recalled that Luxembourg, together with its partners in the Greater Region, is a pioneer in the field of cross-border cooperation and called for work on the implementation of this legal instrument.
The Committee of the Regions' opinion should serve to support the Luxembourg Presidency during the presentation of these proposals which will be developed at the informal meeting of Ministers responsible for territorial cohesion next November.Released by the Luxembourg Delegation in the Committee of Regions