to stimulate the provision of public services across borders in order to reduce negative border effects and promote integration by:
Creating suitable framework conditions at EU and national level
Promoting current available instruments (Interreg, EGTC) as well as new proposed instruments (ECBM)
Presenting added value of cross-border public services (CPS) - sharing good examples from local and regional level
This is an own-initiative opinion, proposing new legislation to the European Commission to regulate Cross-Border Public Services in the European Union, however by the end of 2021, no such legislation was proposed.
Nevertheless, the European Commission, in cooperation with the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions launched an extensive study to map out all the cross-border public services in the European Union, with a final product being an online platform which will be kept updated by the service providers, Euroregions and EGTCs themselves. The initial idea is that the CoR takes over the platform and hosts it on its web site. The discussions on this are in progress.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- underlines the need for an EU legal framework to allow for an efficient establishment and management of cross-border public services which would address the needs of our citizens living in border regions;
- strongly supports, in this sense, the European cross-border mechanism (ECBM) proposal which is currently blocked in the Council of the European Union;
- calls on Member States, and regions with legislative powers to establish stable, permanent, cross-administration national cross-border contact points, which would exchange experiences and discuss challenges the LRAs are facing on a particular border, coordinate the implementation of EU legislation and work on the systematic removal of border obstacles;
- underlines the benefits and not fully used potential of the European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) which could serve as ideal managing bodies for CPS, especially in those cases where there is a need for a common budget and employing common staff and where public authorities are the main providers;
- recommends that Member States jointly allocate part of their additional resources within the REACT-EU initiative to cross-border cooperation programmes in which they participate, thus enabling the efficient restart and strengthening of cross-border cooperation after the COVID-19 crisis, including support for the development of CPS or sanitary corridors. The synergies that can be achieved by pooling emergency services should also be analysed here;
- notes that, while the EU, through its programmes, has been supporting the creation of some CPS, the long-term financing is not sustainable. Members States and LRAs should look into additional ways of financing, such as national or regional sources and public-private partnerships;
- sees the need to define a basic minimum level of cross-border cooperation to be maintained even in times of crisis in order to secure the provision of CPS, especially those related to crisis management.