European Commission logo

Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions


Date: 20 sep 2017

Period: 2014-2020

Theme: Cooperation between regions and countries, Research and innnovation

Languages:   bg | cs | da | de | el | en | es | et | fi | fr | hr | hu | it | lt | lv | mt | nl | pl | pt | ro | sk | sl | sv

The European Union has 40 internal land border regions, which represent 40% of the Union's territory and close to 30% of the EU population. However, border regions generally perform less well economically than other regions within a Member State. Access to public services such as hospitals and universities is generally lower in border regions. Individuals, businesses and public authorities in border regions face specific difficulties when navigating between different administrative and legal systems. Measures that go beyond European funding are needed, as these ongoing difficulties cannot be addressed through financing and investments alone. To address these difficulties and propose a series of new concrete actions, on 20 September 2017 the Commission adopted its Communication "Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions".

The Communication highlights ways in which the EU and its Member States can reduce the complexity, length and costs of cross-border interaction and promote the pooling of services along internal borders. It looks at what needs to be improved to ensure that border citizens can take full advantage of the opportunities offered on both sides of the border. It also aims to contribute to the reflection process started with the White Paper on the Future of Europe by proposing measures and issuing recommendations that make it easier for internal land border regions to cooperate, contribute to reducing hurdles and help border citizens and businesses use the full potential of these regions.

The Communication proposes a set of actions to enhance the competitive and cohesive situation of border regions, notably by addressing some of the legal and administrative barriers currently hampering closer cooperation and interaction. The implementation of these actions will be facilitated by the creation of a "Border Focal Point" within the Commission and consisting of Commission experts in cross border issues, which will offer advice to national and regional authorities to tackle legal and administrative border obstacles.

The positives effects of reducing cross-border obstacles will contribute both to the socio-economic development and the integration of border regions. The Commission has a major role in this process by proposing legislation or funding mechanisms or by supporting Member States and regions to better understand the challenges and develop operative arrangements, notably by promoting the information sharing and showcasing successful practices in their border regions.

The Communication is accompanied by a Staff Working Document which presents key concepts and the elaboration process, which started in 2015 with the "cross-border review" initiative. Furthermore, it provides additional information on the legal and administrative difficulties faced by EU border regions and their societal impact and underpins the actions proposed by the Commission in the Communication with further analysis and concrete examples.

A launch event to mark the adoption of this Communication is taking place on 20-21 September in Brussels. Furthermore, three similar events will be organised outside Brussels between October 2017 and October 2018 in Merida (Spain), Copenhagen (Denmark), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Drama (Greece).