TEIN is formally established as the members signed their joint charter
On 10 July 2012, the representation of the German Land of Baden-Wuerttemberg in Brussels hosted the symposium “The Future of European Territorial Cooperation: Capacity Building in Cross-Border Territories”, which highlighted the new challenges and achievements of capacity building in cross-border territories as part of the new EU cohesion policy. Prior to this the TEIN-MOT-AEBR held their first partnership meeting, closing with the joint signature of the charter thus the official establishment of TEIN.
The symposium was based on the experiences of the TEI-Network (a network of 12 Training and research institutions from 9 border regions all over Europe), and its partners AEBR and MOT. AEBR was represented by its President Karl-Heinz Lambertz, who chaired the round table discussion, and its Secretary General Martín Guillermo Ramírez. MOT was represented by its Director General Jean Peyrony, who participated in the round table discussions.
The German Land of Baden-Wuertemberg hosted this symposium in its representation in Brussels as part of its support to the implementation of the Danube strategy.
High-level speakers representing the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the Association of European Border Regions, the Mission Opérationelle Transfrontalière (MOT) and the new Transfrontier Euro-Institute Network (TEIN) presented their views and shared their experiences with a hundred participants coming from different cross-border territories all over Europe.
It was emphasised that border regions play an essential role in European territorial cohesion, given that they represent 40% of the EU’s territory and more than 30% of its population. The mobility of European workers, consumers, citizens and enterprises is at its greatest in these border regions and cross-border territories, which can therefore be seen as the laboratories for European territorial integration. Therefore, it was claimed that future cohesion policy should take up on their profound experiences and ideas.
The welcome address was delivered by Peter Friedrich, Minister for the Bundesrat, Europe and International Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg, who stated the importance of cross-border cooperation for the European integration process but also for the welfare of border territories. He also stressed the importance of capacity building in all levels involved in the implementation of territorial cooperation programmes and projects.
Dr. Wolfgang Streitenberger Adviser to the Director General, Directorate General for Regional Policy, and Dr. Joachim Beck, Director of the Euro-Institute in Kehl, delivered the keynote speeches. They underlined the importance of capacity building in general, but particularly for the right implementation of territorial cohesion. Mr Streitenberger described how the future territorial cohesion would look like according to the proposal of the European Commission and highlighted some key elements: multifund programmes, sustainable urban development, public-private partnership, the integral territorial approaches and the importance of functional territories (please see his speech). Dr. Beck presented a thorough revision of cross-border cooperation and the objectives of TEIN to strengthen capacities at all levels (please see his presentation).
All speakers agreed that there is a vast and vital need to reduce cooperation barriers and to enable actors of cross border/ transfrontier cooperation to work on practical, integrated solutions in order to create a sustainable added value for the citizens and to strengthen this way a decisive element of the European Integration i.e. the border areas. In order to do so “[…] well-functioning administrative and institutional capacities are an essential prerequisite for flourishing cross-border cooperation.” as Mr. Streitenberger pointed out.
To face these crucial challenges three institutions committed their will to pursue a common, complementary approach in order to build capacities in cross-border territories – setting up the TEIN-AEBR-MOT-Partnership-Approach. Core element of the approach is a holistic understanding of the situation. Corresponding to the multilevel reality in Europe it is the will of the partnership to work on three interdependent angles in order to build the needed capacities.
- The AEBR, bringing together cross border entities across Europe giving them a strong voice on the EU- and national level.
- The MOT, working with cross border territories/entities enable them to learn from each other and providing excellent technical support.
- The new TEIN, working with the actors of cross border cooperation, providing practical training research and support services.
Against this backdrop all partners of TEIN and its associated members the AEBR and the MOT have signed the official charter of the network within an internal meeting that took place previously to the symposium. The charter defines core objectives of the network and lays down its functioning (please see the Charter).
Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Minister-President of the German-speaking Community of Belgium and President of the Association of European Border Regions, chaired the round table discussion with Jean Peyrony, Director of the Mission Opérationelle Transfrontalière, Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid MEP, Pat Colgan, Chief Executive, Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), and Josha Frey MdL, President of the Euro-Institute / Transfrontier Euro-Institute Network.
Main elements raised during the debates, around CBC and capacity building, were the need to professionalize CB actors; the need to be more strategic, with broader and wider scopes and to promote active project pipelines; the role of Euro-Institutes as catalyst of CBC and the need of extend the network of Euro-Institutes, including active universities in border areas, and the implementation of degrees on cooperation projects engineering.
Referring to the increasing need for more strategic cross border interventions Mr. Pat Colgan pointed out the ‘Impact Assessment Toolkit for Cross Border Cooperation’ that has been developed by two TEIN members for the Irish border context – namely the Centre for Cross Border Studies and the Euro-Institut. Mr. Clogan underlined the improved quality of INTERREG applications within the Irish border region since toolkit is used by applicants and practitioners, accompanied by a specific training offer provided by the Centre for Cross Border Studies and the Euro-Institut. Moreover he pointed out that the SEUPB has successfully adapted the methodology of the toolkit by reshaping their INTERREG application procedures in accordance to the six key steps of the toolkit. Therefore Mr. Clogan strongly recommends the toolkit which could also give a practical added value for other border context in order to plan high quality, evidence based projects. (Please download a copy of the Impact Assessment Toolkit for CBC).
The symposium ended at 19.30 and was followed by an evening reception, giving the participants the chance for networking and to exchange views in a more informal way.
For more information about the co-organisers and hosts:
Land Baden-Wuerttemberg: http://www.baden-wuerttemberg.de/en/home/