The European Union has been investing in cross-border cooperation for 25 years via Interreg, which is funded under the European Territorial Cooperation goal of the ESIF. Through these investments much has been achieved to enhance cooperation and alleviate border obstacles. Despite these developments, it appears clearly from exchanges with border regions and their representatives certain key local issues faced by citizens and businesses crossing borders on a daily basis need further reflections and actions.
Crossing borders to find employment, receive better healthcare, make use of public facilities or receive emergency support can still cause difficulties. Taxation or pension rights issues, non-recognition of rights or standards, impossibility to operate joint emergency services are still problems that exist today. Most of the remaining obstacles stem from diverging national legislations on either side of the border (national legislation is “border-blind”), incompatible administrative processes, or simply lack of common territorial planning.
In order to help respond to these challenges, DG REGIO launched its Cross-Border Review. For more information see the CB Review page on DG REGIO’s website.
Given the Centre for Cross Border Studies’ status as an authoritative source of past, present and future Cross Border issues, it was able to provide an informed and independent contribution to this Cross-Border Review.
The Centre’s response covers a broad, but not exhaustive, range of areas concerning cross-border activity, these include:
- The weak institutionalisation of cross-border cooperation;
- Obstacles to cross-border mobility;
- Incompatible data and gaps in data;
- Differences in health systems: structures and legislation;
- Protocols developed to facilitate health professionals working cross-border and the establishment of cross-border services;
- Probation services;
- Obstacles to undergraduate mobility;
- Waste management;
- Regulatory barriers to cross-border trade and business.
The Centre for Cross Border Studies’ own Cross-Border information service Border People has also utilised this opportunity to respond to this review, which focuses on barriers to cross border mobility and is based on the practical experience of the Border People service.