Insights from the 16th Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debate!

The 16th episode of the Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debate series, organized by the Border Focal Point Network, on February 15th, 2024, focused on “How can cross-border risk & crisis management enhance EU resilience?” The event, hosted by Lord Andrew Lansley, attracted a diverse panel of experts from various backgrounds.

Simona Pohlova, Deputy Head of Unit for Interreg, Cross-border Cooperation, Internal Borders (Unit D.2. DG Regio), set the stage by addressing the pressing issue of cross-border joint prevention, preparedness, and response to natural and human-induced disasters. She highlighted a significant allocation of over €1 billion towards Interreg projects aimed at climate change adaptation and underscored the importance of the latest report from DG REGIO, titled ‘Strengthening the Resilience of EU Border Regions: Mapping Risks and Crisis Management Tools and Identifying Gaps.’

Following Simona's introduction, Mr. Ruslan Zhechkov, Principal Consultant of Technopolis, provided insights into the findings of the report. He outlined the primary challenges and opportunities identified in the study, setting the stage for further discussion.

Audience engagement then began with the first poll question, looking into the biggest obstacle for cross-border disaster risk and crisis management (DRM). With 51% of the votes, the audience highlighted differences in legal and administrative processes as the primary impediment.

A video testimonial from Konstantinos Michailidis, Director General of the Directorate of Internal Organization and Operations of the Region of Central Macedonia, shed light on the challenges faced by the Greek-Bulgarian cross-border area in DRM, emphasizing collaborative efforts such as the Interreg project FLOODPROTECTION.

The debate continued with the launch of the second poll, focusing on the measures that can most effectively enhance disaster risk and crisis management in EU border regions, where 34% of participants indicated mainstream solutions beyond Interreg framework as their answer. Birgit Snoeren, representing DG ECHO, stressed the significance of local cooperation in mitigating risks and emphasized the role of risk assessment in disaster planning. Additionally, she underscored the importance of involving local communities as first responders.

screenshot of 16th debate speakers

Marian Ramakers, Programme Manager of EMRIC, highlighted the success of cross-border cooperation among three countries and emphasized the importance of a shared platform for information exchange in addressing daily dangers and disasters.

The session concluded with insights from Mr. Maciej Molak, General Secretary at the FRDIS, Mendel University, who presented research findings on cooperation between the Czech Republic and Poland in fire protection. His research demonstrated that effective IT interconnection of national systems could significantly enhance cross-border cooperation, potentially increasing disaster response effectiveness by 30%.

Overall, the 16th Breakfast Debate provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities surrounding cross-border risk and crisis management in EU border regions, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, information exchange, and innovative solutions in building resilience.

View the replay here!

Also, find the presentations available below!

Birgit Snoeren Presentation
(977.24 KB - PDF)
Ruslan Zhechkov Slides
(807.13 KB - PDF)
Cross-Border Cooperation DRM disaster risk response crisis management