EULAC-CBC: EU-Latin America cooperation on cross-border cooperation

The European Union has a long and rich experience on promoting cross-border cooperation. The development of territorial cooperation actions, in particular cross-border cooperation, is considered a fundamental factor for the development of regional integration processes, of economic and social cohesion, and of progress.

Cross-border cooperation in EU is currently being implemented through agreed cross-border 'analysis and response' strategies, formulated in each of the 53 cross-border programmes. It deals with a wide range of issues, which include: encouraging entrepreneurship, especially the development of SMEs, tourism, culture and cross-border trade; improving joint management of natural resources; supporting links between urban and rural areas; improving access to transport and communication networks; developing joint use of infrastructure; administrative, employment and equal opportunities work.

In Latin America, border regions and municipalities are increasingly demanding instruments for cross-border cooperation, being a growing field under permanent development.

DG REGIO in cooperation with the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) has conducted several studies to support integrated and sustainable development and cross-border co-operation in different border areas in Latin America.

In 2012, DG REGIO organised two information sessions/study visits and four workshops to train Latin American participants (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay) on regional policy issues in the field of cross-border cooperation with the overall aim of strengthening bilateral co-operation by offering Latin American regional participants a source of reference when further developing their policy strategies and actions in order to promote better cross-border cooperation.

The main conclusions and results of the information sessions were presented to the regional and local stakeholders in four workshops (Arica, Foz de Iguaçu, Iquique, Montevideo) to discuss opportunities and problems that may arise in the implementation of specific recommendations in the light of European and Latin American local realities.

In 2013, two similar information sessions and three workshops are organised for Latin American experts from border areas of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.