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1. Additional Protocol to the European outline Convention on cross-border co-operation between territorial communities or authorities - Strasbourg 1995

Additional Protocol to the European outline Convention on cross-border co-operation between territorial communities or authorities - Strasbourg 1995

Approved by the Federal assembly on June 9th 1998

Ratified in Switzerland with registered measure on September 1st 1998

Become effective in Switzerland on December 1st 1998

The Council of Europe member States signatory to this Protocol to the European Outline Convention on Cross-border Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (hereinafter referred to as “the Outline Convention”),

Affirming the importance of cross-border co-operation between territorial communities or authorities in border areas;

Being resolved to take further measures to secure cross-border co-operation between territorial communities or authorities;

Wishing to facilitate and develop cross-border co-operation between territorial communities or authorities situated in border areas;

Acknowledging the need to adapt the Outline Convention to the actual situation in Europe;

Considering that it would be appropriate to supplement the Outline Convention with a view to reinforcing cross-border co-operation between territorial communities or authorities;

Having regard to the European Charter of Local Self-Government;

Bearing in mind the Declaration on cross-border co-operation in Europe which the Committee of Ministers made on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Council of Europe and which, among other things, called for continued action in order to gradually remove barriers of any kind – administrative, legal, political or psychological – to curb the development of cross-border projects,

Have agreed the following additional provisions:

Article 1

1. Each Contracting Party shall recognise and respect the right of territorial communities or authorities under its jurisdiction and referred to in Articles 1 and 2 of the Outline Convention to conclude cross-border co-operation agreements with territorial communities or authorities of other States in equivalent fields of responsibility, in accordance with the procedures laid down in their statutes, in conformity with national law and in so far as such agreements are in keeping with the Party's international commitments.

2. A cross-border co-operation agreement shall entail only the responsibilities of the territorial communities or authorities which have concluded it.

Article 2

Decisions taken jointly under a cross-border co-operation agreement shall be implemented by territorial communities or authorities within their national legal system, in conformity with their national law. Decisions thus implemented shall be regarded as having the same legal force and effects as measures taken by those communities or authorities under their national legal system.

Article 3

A cross-border co-operation agreement concluded by territorial communities or authorities may set up a cross-border co-operation body, which may or may not have legal personality. The agreement shall specify whether the body, regard being had to the responsibilities assigned to it and to the provisions of national law, is to be considered a public or private law entity within the national legal systems to which the territorial communities or authorities concluding the agreement belong.

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The excerpt discusses some articles from the protocol which is complementary to the Madrid Framework Convention Madrid adopted by the Council of Europe (COE) in 1980. Over the last years, cross-border cooperation experiences have encountered some difficulties. These had not been prefigured and have been therefore modified thanks to this protocol.


Council of Europe: established on may 5th 1949, the Council of Europe; is composed of 47 member countries. It has the aim to encourage the creation of a juridical and social democratic common space in Europe, in respect of the European Convention and reference books on Human Rights protection.

Convention: agreement between two or more subjects (individuals institutions or governments) regulating matters of general interest.

Protocol: legal instrument completing , emending or modifying the main treaty.

Transfrotier: something which has to do with two or more borderlands. Such an area is generally covering up to 25 Km towards a State border. It os understood that, in teh case of Euro regions, this word has a wider meaning.

Community: in this context it means local authority.


  1. Who is to sign a Protocol and to commit oneself, this way to guarantee cross-border cooperation?
  2. Which former document is a supplement for the present one?

Display teacher's view to find the answers.

Description and Analysis

Articles of the Protocol above are to identify the guidelines from the institution of Euroregions as legal institutions.

With the present document, indeed, all Council of Europe member States have committed themselves to recognize the legal nature – private and public – and their acts legal status. For this to happen, first of all, it is necessary that Euro regions statutes are in agreement with national law and with international agreement stipulated by involved countries. Secondly, for all decisions taken by a Euro region are actuated by local authorities/communities which are on their turn part of national states.

A euro region is not, in fact, a independent organism with regards to other national states. On the other hand, it is a governance territorial structure, whose powers are limited to their respective national jurisdiction.

The protocol get involved with the convention of 1980, schedule all possible juridical settings assumed by the cross-border cooperation.

Geographical/Historical Context

What are Euroregions?

A euro regions is an institutional reality provided by European Community which is to make easier various forms of union and cooperation on different themes, in order to put into action an interregional and cross-border cooperation between neighbour territories of the same geopolitical area, with the same story, economic, social and cultural mores.

Euro regions do not generally fit into any particular legal or political institution. They do not have any political authority and their actions are not limited to those few competences of local and regional institutions they are constituted by.

Just to bring some examples, among over forty Euro regions existing in the continental territory, we can mention: agreements between German, French and Dutch local territorial authorities: Eugenio (1958); Regio Ems-Dollart (1978); between Germany, Switzerland and France: Regio Basiliensis (1963); between Germany and Czech Republic Ceca: Euroregio Egrensis (1991); Euroregion Elba (1992); Euroregio Bayericher Wald/Sumava (1993). between Germany and Poland: Euro region Pomerania (1991); Euroregio Spree-Neisse: Bober (1992). Between Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia e Romany: Carpathian Euroregion.

Although the word “euro region” has a similar meaning, it has not to be hassled with the traditional “European regions ”(1)

A Euro region can have the following legal statuses:

  • an association of local and regional authorities on national border sides.
  • a cross-border association with a permanent secretary and technical and administrative team with its own resources;
  • private law legal status: based upon non-profit associations or foundations on both sides of the borderline, in accordance with both operating national laws;
  • public legal status: based upon interstate agreements connected to local authorities participation.

It is therefore difficult to make a connection between a single legal structure and the word “euro region”. This is due to the fact that legal structure often change in their particular forms and juridical fundamentals on which they are based.

The Madrid Framework Convention Madrid adopted by the Council of Europe (COE) in 1980 was the very first support mean to cross-border cooperation. Following the difficulties found by member States in this cooperation, set of regulations n. 1082/2006 of European Parliament and [G.U. L 210 del 31.7.2006] of the Council, July 5th 2006 introduced the cross-border cooperation European groups. They are subjects for territorial cooperation with full public legal status and they are allowed or able to take action on their members behalf.

A Euro region institution involves the arrangement of operational and prescriptive patterns which has not to be based upon existing cooperation experiences only, but also on strong motivation and goals. This way it would be possible to respond to different needs of all individuals who want to be part of it. It is therefore be claimed that Euro regions work as integration tools, a sort of workshops of practice and subsidiary means as well as potential energies generators”

(from Euroregioni, 16th July 2007, Veneto Regional Council)