On Tuesday 28th September, the Border Focal Point Network organised the fourth episode of the ‘Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates’ series. This edition focused on cross-border regions role as labs of European integration, taking inspiration from the recent European Commission’s report of the same name.
In this episode, two case studies presented border regions’ innovative solutions in relation to energy transition and healthcare, followed by a lively discussion on national authorities’ role and the relevance of the EU recovery funds for cross-border areas.
Local projects brought together evidence of how cross-border regions can foster innovative solutions to boost European integration. The ‘Healthcare Twinning’ project explained how they facilitate provision of medical care through the sharing of hospital facilities between the twin cities of Valga (Estonia) and Valka (Latvia). Whereas, the North Sea Port, a unique harbour crossing the border from Ghent (Belgium) to Flushing (Netherlands), explained how the ‘Cross-border CO2 network’ aims to build a system of pipelines to store emissions by fostering cooperation among emitters and CC(US) operators.
Representatives from the Bulgarian national authority and from the Central European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives also contributed to the discussion by offering insights on current national policy measures and EU recovery funds potential use in cross-border regions. The debate focused on the crucial roles that European, national and border stakeholders play in representing the interests of cross-border citizens in the decision-making process.
If you could not join us for this event or if you would like to watch it again, the recording is available here:
More information on the topic and useful websites:
- The North Sea Port
- b-solutions initiative
- EU Border Regions: Living labs of European integration report
The 'Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates' series has been designed to highlight ways in which cross-border regions can be supported in tackling specific problems, building on their many assets. The debates will provide the opportunity for stakeholders and policy experts to convene and discuss the continued challenges and obstacles to cross-border cooperation.