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2. European Parliament resolution on the role of "Euroregions" in the development of regional policy

European Parliament resolution on the role of "Euroregions" in the development of regional policy

The European Parliament,


- having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European grouping of cross-border cooperation (EGCC) (COM(2004)0496)

- having regard to the European Outline Convention on Cross-border Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities of the Council of Europe (Madrid, 21 May 1980) and its Additional Protocols, and to the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 15 October 1985)


A. Whereas the enlargement of the European Union to 25 Member States on 1 May 2004 increased the disparities between European regions and forthcoming enlargements may further increase those disparities; whereas enlargement also led to a substantial increase in the number of border regions; whereas it should be noted that Euroregions have made a decisive contribution towards surpassing frontiers in Europe, building good, neighbourly relations, bringing people together on both sides of borders and breaking down prejudices, in particular through cooperation at local and regional level across national borders,

B. Whereas regional disparities in the enlarged union need to be reduced and need to be addressed with an effective cohesion policy aimed at harmonious development within the EU,

C. Whereas one requirement of an effective cohesion policy and of European integration is to ensure the sustainable development of cross-border co-operation and finally to overcome the difficulties existing to date in funding joint projects that benefit equally local authorities and regions on either side of a border,

D. Whereas Euroregions and similar structures are important instruments of cross-border co-operation that nonetheless have to be further developed and improved and whereas they should have certain legal status,

E. Whereas the ultimate aim of Euroregions is to promote cross-border co-operation between border regions, local entities, regional authorities, social partners and all other actors, not necessarily Member States of the EU, on matters such as culture, education, tourism, economic issues and any other aspect of daily life,

F. Whereas the Association of European Border Regions has presented several reports on the status of cross-border co-operation in Europe and has prepared studies on a cross-border legal instrument on decentralised cooperation of the Commission and the Committee of the Regions,

1. Considers that cross-border cooperation is of fundamental importance to European cohesion and integration and must therefore be given wide support;

2. Calls on Member States to promote the use of Euroregions as one of the tools of cross-border co-operation;

3. Notes that a Euroregion or similar structure fulfils important cross-border tasks, providing, for example:

  • - an information and service point for citizens, institutions and regional and local authorities;
  • - a focal point for common values, aims and strategies;
  • - a driving force for solving cross-border problems;
  • - a mouthpiece in all cross-border questions;

4. Notes that Euroregions are a turn table for all cross-border relationships, contacts, knowledge transfers and operational programmes and projects and that they need certain legal status to be able to perform their tasks;

5. Stresses that cross-border cooperation provides a suitable approach to solving daily problems on both sides of the border, especially in economic, social, cultural and environmental fields;

6. Stresses that cross-border cooperation makes a considerable contribution to the implementation of the Lisbon strategy through:

  • - joint innovation and research;
  • - research and development (R&D) networks across borders;
  • - the exchange of best practice and experience;

7. Notes that Euroregions enhance proximity ties through local best-practice exchange projects; (...)

8. Notes the legislative work in progress on a European grouping of cross-border cooperation (EGCC), the aim of which is to simplify cross-border cooperation instruments (facilitating their actions, rationalising procedures and reducing operating costs), thus providing a platform for Euroregions to develop;

9. Underlines the need to give priority to eliminating disparities between regions in the new Member States and in the old Member States;

10. Stresses the need to extend the concept of Euroregions and similar structures, even though they do not necessarily have the legal competencies to include multiple facets of co-operation; suggests as possible fields of mutual interest, promoting culture, education, tourism and economic issues as well as, where applicable, fighting organised crime, drug trafficking and fraud in partnership with relevant national institutions;


14. Stresses the importance of cross-border co-operation and Euroregions for Member States with natural handicaps, including small island states;

15. Stresses the need to support cross-border co-operation and the establishment of Euroregions, including regions in the sensitive area of the Middle East, in an effort to promote friendly relations, stability, security and economic interests in terms of mutual respect and benefit;

1 2 3
Source: Resolution of the European Parliament 1.12.2005.


The document suggested is the version approved by European Parliament and published on The European Official Journal (english version) of 22 November .2006 (2006 C 285 E/01). Some articles have been edited out for their excessively technical slant, so that those useful to understand the measure general meaning have been left.

This is a resolution which underlines how important cross-border cooperation is when it comes “building” Europe. This chance comes from a European enlargement in 2004. Europe, indeed, granted to ten different new States the European membership: the three Baltic Republics, two big Mediterranean islands as Malta and Cyprus, five countries from the ex-soviet bloc. By 2006 also Bulgaria and Romania were meant to enter. The so-called “opening to East”, has brought into EUnations with a weaker economy. Until 1989, they had been isolated from European community through a hardly penetrable frontier. The meaning of this resolution lies, in fact, on the will of encouraging exchanges between regions standing at the old “iron curtain” sides. But it is also meant to diminish economic spread and “move populations close to each other by eliminating bias”. Article no.14, when talking about member States “naturally characterized by handicap”, is referring to a Cyprus and Malta, the two main Mediterranean islands, which have been marginalized since long time by their lack of centrality within the economic evolution in the Mediterranean area.


Official Journal: it is the journal where all laws are published. Each country has one on its own (fr. Journal Officiel, ingl. Official Journal, ted. Bundesgesetzblatt). EU has its own Official Journal, reporting all acts of Commission and Parliament. It is available in all member States languages.

Decision: within the communitarian law, a decision is a normative act with mandatory effect. This means that all member States are bound to welcome that in their own legislation.

Decision: a sort of indication/warning which is given to a member per lead its behaviour: a sort of: “you are better to this rather than that”. But it is not binding.

Advice: like “recommendation” an advice is also not binding for member States. The difference here is that the advice is given by European Institution as response to particular questions.

Resolution: resolution is not binding as well. It had to do with a decision that is only to address, to indicate how to operate to reach specific goals.


  1. The document is composed of two parts: the first one includes paragraphs from A to F. The second one those from 1to 15. Individuate which verbs introduce the first part paragraphs and which verbs the second part ones.
  2. After doing exercise 1, explain the document argumentative structure.
  3. How is it possible to understand that the document is not binding, in other words, that it does not establish any law that must be adopted by member States?
  4. Which are the “ cross-border duties” that have to be carried out by a Euro region?
  5. What is the EGCC?

Display teacher's view to find the answers.

Description and Analysis

In order to better understand the meaning of such a resolution, it may be useful reading its preparatory draft, definitely more explicit when compared to its final version. Here it can be read the European Commission invitation to plan a steady legal framework for Euro regions. It encourages States to join the cross-border cooperation and to support the most economically unprivileged regions, like Cyprus and Malta, so that they can extend this cooperation to unusual context as well, such as Combating organized crime, frauds and drug trafficking.

In this document there is also the cross-border cooperation history since 1990, when it can be understood how it has developed from the bottom (bottom-up) and how it has got stronger thanks to the EU decision of contributing to its initiatives.

“However, the extraordinary growth of cross-border co-operation from 1988 onwards must certainly be related to the launch of EU support schemes dedicated to cross- border initiatives in Western Europe, and, from the early 90s, increasingly in Eastern and Central Europe. From 26 initiatives in 1988, when the Directorate General launched its first pilot projects, their number almost tripled to over 70 in 1999. Qualitative evidence shows that the newly founded Euroregions, for example those on the Eastern and Southern German borders, tend to be closely involved in Interreg implementation. There were no Euroregions on the Austrian-German border before Austria's accession to the EU, but, between 1994 and 1998 five new Euroregions were established. Similar evidence can be provided for many Eastern and Central European cross-border initiatives.

Since they have been established, many of the Working Communities have stagnated in terms of political importance and budget, but the smaller Euroregions continue to flourish in part because they are more closely involved in the Interreg programme that only applies to narrow border areas. It appears that the Euroregion, as an institutional form, is better suited to taking an active role in implementing EU policy measures than the larger Working.”

(Explanatory Statement – Definition of Euroregions – A concept developed by the Council of Europe - http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-0311&language=EN#title1)"

Geographical/Historical Context

The resolution is meant to provide the cross-border cooperation with a new administrative tool: EGCC. Its first aim is simplifying procedures for using of European funds for borderlands. Administrative differences existing between countries, indeed, may lead to procedural difficulties i (as for instance, different: diverse job contract typologies, taxation and payment systems)

EGCC is a public law organisation, an institution created to satisfy specific needs of gnereal interest. It has legal status and it is in fact financed by the State, by other public or public law institutions.(Dir. CE 18/04).

EGCC may be formed by member States, regional or local communities or by public law organisations, that are in a territory belonging at least to two member States.

The decision of instituting a EGCC was an initiative of potential members and has to be notified to the member State which they are part of. A EGCC may be charged of programmes to carry out – often co-financed by the Community - in other words, of cross-border cooperation actions with or without EU financial contribution.

EGCC duties are determined by an agreement written and approved by its members, specifying functions, duration, dissolution conditions and responsibilities.(members are financially responsible in proportion to their contribution to the public budget unless all debts redemption). The operating law to interpret and enforce the convention must be found in the member State where the official see of a group is. On the basis of such a convention, the EGCC finds statute of its own including: members list, goal and roles; name and place, competences and organisms functions, decision-making procedures, choice of work languages , recruitment mode, nature of contracts, financial contributions modes of members as well as applicable rules of accounting and budget, designation of an independent financial control and external audit.