During the 11th Annual meeting of the
European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation
(EGTC) Platform hosted in Innsbruck (Austria) by the Region of Tyrol, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) celebrated the ten years of the EGTC Euregio Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino and welcomed the foundation of the new EGTC Euregio Connect between Austria and Italy. The CoR recently adopted a
calling on the European Commission to present a proposal for maintaining cross-border cooperation and life in the event of future crises. The resolution contains multiple proposals to improve cross-border collaboration and calls on the Commission to follow up on already existing legislation and treaties, whose implementation could often still be improved.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest setbacks for cross-border
cooperation in the past decades. Bringing cross-border cooperation back to
the forefront of the EU’s policy agenda is one of the CoR's top priorities.
adopted in July, which will serve as a
contribution to the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Committee called on the European Commission to present a proposal for
maintaining land and maritime cross-border cooperation and cross-border
life in the event of a new EU-wide or regionalised crisis. Furthermore, the
resolution highlighted the need to improve and enhance cross-border public
services, stressing that cross-border structures, such as the EGTCs, should
be given a more prominent role in managing cross-border areas, since they
are uniquely placed to do so.
Opening the 11th Annual meeting of the EGTC Platform,
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: "Cross-border cooperation, as well as transnational and interregional
cooperation, have seen the biggest setback in decades. The COVID-19
crisis had reminded us what closed borders mean, but it has also shown
us the incredible resourcefulness, the ingenuity and the solidarity
between Europeans, who managed to overcome obstacles, mobilise
opportunities and help each other. This is what Cross Border
Cooperation is for: to build bridges in areas like health, climate
change, mobility of people and businesses, local economies, research."
(FR/PES), Chair of the CoR Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and
EU Budget and chair of the EGTC Platform, as well as regional councillor of
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, declared in the margins of the conference: "Borders are still a major issue for European integration. We saw it
during the pandemic, when countries closed their borders, denying many
people access to essential public services like hospitals or the right
to work. The EGTC platform proposes tangible solutions to improve
transport connections and cross-border public services, while also
addressing juridical and administrative barriers. However, we need the
European Commission to present a new version of the European
Cross-Border Mechanism, as the only instrument that can guarantee that
internal borders are no longer walls preventing Europeans from living a
The Tirolo-Alto Adige Südtirol-Trentino EGTC results from a partnership
between Austria and Italy, involving 1 695 130 inhabitants in an area of
26,255 km². The Euregio was founded in 2011, and since then more than 350
projects have been initiated and implemented.
(AT/EPP), Governor of Land Tirol, president of the
European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino and CoR member, said: "
Euregio is strong. The last two years have not been easy: coronavirus
lockdowns and related border closures have brought enormous challenges
to us. And even in these difficult moments, we have fought together and
supported each other wherever possible: from purchasing protective
equipment, taking over intensive patients to influence federal policy
in order to allow family visits again. This means that the Euregio is
not only a formal alliance, but also an important instrument of
cooperation, particularly in times of crisis
(IT/EPP), Governor of the Autonomous Province of
Bozen/South Tyrol and CoR member, said: "
Over these first ten years we have been able to achieve a lot of
concrete results for citizens in Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino. We
want to show that Europe can overcome borders in its diversity and
better overcome major challenges if it keeps a constant dialogue open
and sets common actions
, Governor of the Autonomous Province of Trento, said: "
The tenth anniversary of the Euregio is of particular importance. On
the one hand, it is an opportunity to look back at the numerous
initiatives taken so far, which have gradually increased awareness and
appreciation among the citizens of the three regions. On the other
hand, it allows us to look at the future with even greater enthusiasm
and to think of what can be done. The new initiatives we will take will
make the Euregio even more useful and concrete for people."
During the Annual meeting of the EGTC, the 81st EGTC Euregio was
founded, called "Connect". It is the result of a cooperation between the
Italian and Austrian tourism organisations of Tirolo, Alto Adige Südtirol
and Trentino. Based on the jointly organised cycle race “Tour of the Alps”,
this will be the platform for joint projects between Tyrol Advertising, IDM
South Tyrol and Trentino Marketing in the fields of tourism and sport.
European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation
(EGTC) is a legal instrument designed to facilitate and promote
cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation. It was
introduced in 2006 through a European Union Regulation to enable public
actors to establish an international entity under European law, and in that
way simplify cross-border cooperation and cut red tape.
The European Committee of the Regions runs the
, which integrates the political and technical representatives of all the
existing EGTCs, EGTCs under constitution and members of the Expert Group as
well as associations and other experts and stakeholders.
With the newly founded EGTC Euregio Connect, there are now 81 EGTCs in the
EU, with several more in the process of being set up. These EGTCs are
established in 22 EU Member States and four non-EU countries, and they
involve over 1,000 local and regional authorities, universities and other
commissioned by the CoR, border regions cited cross-border transport and
connectivity as well as bureaucratic hurdles for citizens and businesses as
the biggest obstacles that they face in their territories.
During the CoR's plenary in February 2021, members adopted an opinion on
Cross-border Public Services drafted by
(CZ/ECR), Deputy Mayor of Rádlo in the Czech Republic. The press release on
the opinion can be found
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