The first TEIN annual conference took place 10.10.2019 in Brussels at the Maastricht University Campus during the European Week of Region and Cities on “Assessing impact across borders”.
Assessing impact before a legislation is adopted is actually more and more often done. Nevertheless, assessing impacts on a national basis can have quite different results as when it is done on a territorial basis and even in cross-border territories.
For the moment, there is no obligation at national or European level to assess impacts of future legislation in cross-border regions.
However, most border barriers are a result of national / regional legislation and administrative practices. Unfortunately, the focus mainly seems to be on ex-post tackling of barriers, not on ex-ante even if, ex-ante mapping of effects can best be done through a cross border impact assessment by and for the region.
First, as there is no obligation to undertake it, it is necessarily a bottom up approach linked with several questions like: who decides which legislation to analyse? Who pays for the work done? Who is legitimate to undertake the assessment?
Second, it is a question of capacities, methods and data collection.
During the annual conference, Martin Unfried (ITEM, University of Maastricht) showed which methods are already existing for territorial impact assessment but that those have to be adapted to the cross-border context.
The aim is to provide a contribution to the ex ante recognition of potential negative or positive cross-border effects of planned legislation or policy initiatives as well as the ex post identification of negative or positive cross-border effects of existing policy or legislation.
Cross Border Impact Assessment is then to be used to offer additional insights into national and EU initiatives and as a valuable tool and resource for the policymakers behind the decisions concerning border regions. Since three years, ITEM is experimenting impact assessment (ex-post and ex-ante ; national and european legislation) at their border (NL-D-BE) and trying to establish a methodology.
Dr. Anthony Soares, Acting Director at The Centre for Cross Border Studies, Armagh
Anthony Soares (Centre for Cross-Border Studies) recalled the existence of the manual on impact analysis developed in collaboration with the Euro-Institute, which makes it possible to assess the impact of cross-border projects on territories. Regarding the assessment of impact of legislation, he pointed out that even if the political context is divided and evidence contested, it remains an important topic. He presented the United Kingdom’s impact assessment on Brexit, but highlighted the limits of the exercise, as these measures do not cover cross-border impacts. Indeed, the replacement of the Structural Funds was considered but without taking into account the programmes dedicated to cross-border cooperation (INTERREG). Furthermore, the analysis does not demonstrate the potential impact of the application of European legislation in Ireland on the Irish/Northern Irish border. For example, the EU directive on the interruption of seasonal time changes. It should allow each Member State to choose between winter and summer time and to stop changing times twice a year. Nevertheless, this could have extreme impact on the lives of citizens at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland if two different time zone were implemented.
Ramona Velea, Institute of International Sociology, Gorizia (IT)
Ramona Velea (ISIG) came back to the data collection problem and the need for introducing a monitoring and evaluation process in order the collect data, which can then contribute to impact assessment. She took the example of the candidature of the city of Nova Gorica to become European Capital of Culture in 2025. The Slovene City decide to candidate with the “twin citie” of Gorizia (IT) but in order to do so they are analysing now the potential impact of such a candidature on the cities.
If the three presentation as well as the discussions underlined the importance of assessing impacts across borders, they also demonstrated the remaining challenges. That’s why TEIN want to address this issue by building capacities in this field and develop methodology that can fit for different border regions in the EU. Reflections on a common project in this sense where launched during the General Assembly which followed the Annual Conference.