Lacking, insufficient or low-quality public transport services still have a negative impact on the mobility of many citizens in EU border regions. Three are the main fields in which obstacles are identified according to the European Commission’s Communication “Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions”, namely in the cross-border connection of infrastructures, in the transboundary provision of services and in the quality of such services.
Under the third call for proposals of b-solutions, two obstacles were selected in the thematic area of “(public) transport of passengers”. They address two different borders, involve 4 Member States and both of them have been identified by public administrations - one regional authority and one Province.
Read below a short description of both cases.
Rolling stock approval to foster rail transport between France and Spain
The circulation of trains between the stations of Hendaye (France) and Irún (Spain) is prevented because of the complex and costly administrative procedures that are necessary to obtain the needed technical authorisations in both countries.
Solving the obstacle would allow for the introduction of a public transport service to the local citizens and it would help reduce the road congestion with a significantly positive impact on the environment.
As trains’ full interoperability has not been achieved yet across the EU Member States, a solution to this obstacle might be advantageous also to other EU borders where the same issue arises.
Cross-border authorizations of tramway personnel
Province of Limburg
The operation of a urban tramway between the cities of Hasselt (BE) and Maastricht (NL) is prevented because of some problems regarding the legal authorizations of Belgian personnel on the Dutch side of the border.
Removing this obstacle would reduce the overall costs of cross-border mobility and would help increase the cross-border interactions in this area. Measures to solve this obstacle might be undertaken also in other border regions along the Dutch-Belgian border, where the same issue is encountered.
The European Communication’s COM(2017) 534 final stresses the necessity to promote activities that support bilingualism and multilingualism in border regions, in order to facilitate the communication and reciprocal understanding between neighboring regions.
Obstacles to multilingualism especially include difficulties in setting up actions to promote it in cross-border contexts.
This is well represented by the only case selected within the thematic area “Multilingualism” in the framework of the third call for proposals of b-solutions.
The case has been addressed by a network of municipalities located at the French-Spanish border.
A short description of it is available below.
Financing cross-border pupils’education
Communauté de Communes Pyrénées Haut Garonnaises
In the mountainous area between France and Spain access to schools is complicated. Particularly, the Spanish students are not accepted in institutions located in the neighboring region because the French treasury cannot receive foreign invoices to finance public schools.
Solving this obstacle would not only have significant impact on the development of multilingualism in the area but would also create new synergies between the two educational systems with a significant impact on the economic development of the cross-border territory. A solution might also be replicated in other remote and rural areas facing similar issues and especially to promote the implementation of projects enhancing multilingualism.