Teacher | Student
Originally produced in: Italy
Also available in: en


A Euroregion is a transational cooperation structure between two or more territories of different countries of European Union (one in Italy and one in France, for instance) or of Europe (an Italian region and a Swiss canton, for instance). This cooperation main aim is to promote shared interests of borderlands populations. Euroregions shall be acknowledged by all nations involved, as their operating skills match those of their local authorities. Their characteristics and statute, as well as their functioning are not always the same everywhere.

At the present time, there are more than 60 euro regions to be divided in 4 different main categories.

This module provides fundamental information to understand how Europe is constituted in its every single regions. To this purpose, we will first take a look to official documents, as the Additional Protocol to the European Outline Convention on Cross-border Cooperation (Strasbourg, 1995) and the Resolution approved by the European Parliament on 1st January 2005, which define the main legal characteristics for as a regional cooperation just to make some examples of it. A part from the “La Grande Région” case which basically gets together all regions of four Central Europe States (Wallonia, Luxemburg, Renania-Palatinato, Lorena and Sarre – Meuse) , with Italy as focus.

This subject is not always necessarily developed in Italian student manuals, where the main discussion is generally only about Europe of regions, without going through it and specifying what it is all about. This module aim, on the other hand, is filling up this sort of blank, in order to solicit students attention about 1. The constitution of transnational organisms with a better management of territory as main aim. 2. About Europe inner boundaries construction/deconstruction 3. About regional European cooperation.

Conceptual Objectives

  • Understanding the different meanings and historically adopted uses of “territory” notion
  • Knowledge and understanding of the meaning of “macroregion”
  • Knowledge and understanding of the meaning of “cross-border cooperation”
  • Knowledge and understanding of the meaning of “trans nationality”
  • Awareness of the historical construction of boundaries
  • Awareness of territorial “diversities” which are in a Nation/country

Methodological Objectives and Skills

  • Reading and understanding an international law act issued by EU institutions
  • Recognising and describing all shared feature within a cross-border territory (geographical features, passages, communication nets, financial and economical organisation)
  • Recognising dynamics and synergies among burden and boost to cooperation brought on by Authorities and Institutions of main European regions. (such a boost may be a bottom-up or top-down one. But, what burden are caused by Nations and what needs of inhabitant population take advantage from this kind of cooperation?)

Suggestion of Activities

  1. Search of legal documents which today’s italian region are based upon
  2. Choose a marginal Italian region (Friuli Venezia-Giulia or Trentino Alto-Adige, for instance) and trace back, from today to 1815, its boundaries evolution
  3. Choose a non-marginal Italian region confine (Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio or Basilicata for instance) and trace back, from today to 1815, its boundaries evolution
  4. Choose a EU member state (Germany, France or Spain, for instance) and analyse its regional inner organisation
  5. In the internet, search European Association of Regions website and write a presentation about that, including its history, structure, and mission. Since it can be visited in different languages, it is also possible to use this activity to improve one’s linguistic skills

Further Information and Interdisciplinarity

In Europe cross-border and interregional cooperation has a long historical, cultural and economical tradition. Its early period brings back to European Council initiatives, between late 50s and early 60s. The main idea was seeing the borderline as a fracture no more, but as a meeting place where shared projects could be brought on.

A cooperation going over the boundaries, which Euroregion is based upon, has two main aims. First of all, the need for a breakthrough of an isolation so typical in borderline regions, but most of all, in mountain and island areas, in order to create a breeding ground for their relationship network. Secondly, the solution of specific problems should be delegated to resident populations. Where local élites are involved in the decision process and there is an administrative devolution, any degeneration or demand for autonomy, which are nowadays spread all around in Europe, can be kept under control.

From the EU point of view, this kind of cooperation, over regions boundaries, is useful to promote the inner market and to bring the concept of Europe closer to people

A Euroregion is the most advanced form of trans-boundary cooperation. This is a case of cooperation deal between existing Private and Public Authorities having various possible corporate designations. The main aim, here, is to enhance the neighbour territories potential, which are very often similar under geo-political and cultural point of view. To that purpose, mutual projects shall be developed, in order to have people, goods and services moving easily.

Euroregions, AOO, whatever it is their corporate designation, they all share some characteristics: they have a permanent form and separate identity from their home countries, they have their own administrative e financial resources (thought the cannot turn to non taxation) as well as their own inner decision-making mechanisms. Their corporate designation are:

  • Work community with no legal status (ex. ALPE-ADRIA)
  • Non profit-making organization
  • European group with economical interest (GEIE)
  • European group for territorial cooperation(EGCC – ex. MEDALP)

The basic difference, here, is between Euro regions with legal status and those with no legal status. The former “have exclusive powers, but separated from those belonging to single local or regional authorities (EGCC). The latter have complementary functions with regards to cross-border political decisions adopted by local and regional authorities (Work community).” (M.Mascia, Euroregioni, confini che uniscono 3.4.2010, in http://www.tonioloricerca.it)

A natural evolution of cross-border cooperation agreements is that of del EGCC, for Euro regions assume legal status. They are, this way, allows them to overcome any organizational difficulties that may come from national procedures and regulations as well as from problems due to allocation of administrative responsibilities.