By Adam Płoszaj, 2013


This paper discusses cooperation between entities from various European regions taking place within so-called twinning cities and projects financed from EU funds in the frame of INTERREG B and INTERREG C programmes. City twinning is an interesting phenomenon with various spatial aspects. It comprises formal cooperation agreements made between local commune (city) authorities usually located in different countries. The INTERREG analysis concerns two types of cooperation: transnational cooperation and interregional cooperation. Transnational cooperation takes place across large multi-national spaces; interregional cooperation concerns non-contiguous regions across the whole territory of the EU. The cooperation takes place as part of projects fi nanced from ERFD funds. In 2000-2006, transnational cooperation was fi nanced within 11 operational programmes within the INTERREG IIIB initiative. In 2007- 2013, transnational cooperation is financed as part of 13 transnational programmes under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective (the name INTERREG is not offi cially used, but due to large similarity of the initiatives in this paper, for the sake of brevity, the term INTERREG IVB will be used). In addition, interregional cooperation is fi nanced from ERDF funds, in 2000-2006 within the INTERREG IIIC programme and in 2007-2013 within INTERREG IVC.

By Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, 2011


Cross-border cooperation has the potential to transform a border into a possibility for development. This is particularly important in the case of regions on the external borders of the European Union. By working together, these regions can jointly identify and address the specific challenges and opportunities presented by the border between them. Benefiting from the existing potential often requires outside funding, both from the EU and from governments. Why should funding be provided for this cooperation? Firstly, the European Union and the Member States both have a primary interest in promoting regional development in areas located by the EU’s external borders. Secondly, cross-border cooperation in general leads to better relations between the participating countries. EU funding for such cooperation contributes to stability and prosperity on the Union’s borders. Thirdly, cross-border cooperation fosters people-to-people contacts as well as networks between local communities. It contributes to the establishment of a common border-region identity. It also facilitates the generation of social capital, trust and mutual understanding among the communities on both sides of the borders. This is an important element in building the 21st century Europe. This brochure gives an overview of the crossborder cooperation taking place on the EU’s external borders at present and in the past.

By Markus Perkmann, 2003


The 1990s have seen a strong surge in the number of cross-border regions all over Western and Eastern Europe. The article analyses the emergence of these local cross-border institutions in public governance by addressing their context, dimensions and causal underpinnings. First, it offers a brief background on the history of cross-border regions in Europe and related EU policies to support them. Second, it provides a conceptual definition of crossborder regions and their various forms and positions within the wider context of other transnational regional networks. Third, it analyses the empirical dimensions of European cross-border regions, including their frequency, geographic distribution and development over time. It concludes by linking cross-border regions and their various forms to institutional conditions in specific countries as well as the effects of European regional policy. It is argued that small-scale cross-border regions have flourished in particular because of their increasingly relevant role as implementation units for European regional policy in a context of multi-level governance.

By Eduardo Medeiros, 2009


The Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) process has been supported by the EU Cohesion Policy umbrella since 1990, when the first multiannual Programme (1989-1993) took place, aiming the implementation of a strategic orientation of investments, with a special focus on the less developed EU regions, which included the border areas, following the principles of a more balanced European Territory. By then, borders between Member-States accounted for 6.000 km of land frontier, 15% of UE land area and 10% of its population. Yet, their peripheral situation, together with the overall picture of lower levels of socioeconomic development led the European Commission (EC) to launch, in 1990, a special initiative for border regions known as INTERREG, in order to promote transfrontier cooperation which included the CBC stand (INTERREG-A). Since then, two other INTERREG-A generations have been concluded (1994-1999 and 2000-2006), and another is on its way, included in the Territorial Cooperation objective (2007-2013), proving the success of this initiative in promoting the European Territorial Integration, in view of the ESDP strategic guidelines to achieve a more balanced EU territory. Indeed, at the present moment, the EU border areas (NUTS III) account for some 60% of the EU area and 41% of the EU population, while 37% of these areas are included in the convergence objective, making their socio-economic support vital to EU territory development. With this in mind, the question remains: isn’t the 1.8% of EU allocation funds for the present Cohesion Programme (2007-2013) a ‘bad deal’ for the European Border areas?