Strasbourg Declaration on cross-border cooperation – AEBR, MOT and CESCI sign a cooperation agreement
“Border regions play a crucial role in European integration and cohesion, in particular through cross-border cooperation,” said Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer during the signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between the ‘Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), the Central European Service for Cross-Border Transport. Frontier Initiatives (CESCI) and the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT) held under the auspices of the Congress, on October 7, 2021. The Declaration, signed respectively by the Presidents of the three associations Karl-Heinz Lambertz – also member of the Congress, Zsuzsanna Fejes and Christian Dupessey aim to strengthen their cooperation and synergy along the internal and external borders of the EU, in the context of the COVID-19 crisis which has endangered economic activity and prevented the free movement of people across the internal borders of the EU.
“A third of European citizens live in border areas and of the 362 regions registered by the Council of Europe in its 47 member states, more than 140 are cross-border regions”, underlined Andreas Kiefer, stressing that the Congress, in as a body of the Council of Europe, has for many years been a pioneer in the development of this co-operation.
In 2013, Congress adopted a report on Prospects for effective cross-border cooperation, highlighting the issues linked to collaboration between individual and institutional actors from different political and administrative systems. Another report on Autonomy and borders in an evolving Europe, adopted in 2016, focuses on the principles, frameworks and procedures for the protection and modification of the status, competences and borders of subnational entities in domestic law. More recently, in 2019, Congress adopted a report on the Fair distribution of taxes in cross-border areas: potential conflicts and possibilities for compromise harmonize the use of burden-sharing methods between local and regional authorities.
The Declaration is also based on the European Alliance for Cross-Border Citizens, an initiative launched in November 2020 by AEBR, MOT and CESCI, with the support of the European Committee of the Regions.