The main objective of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC), as a new legal instrument of cooperation, is to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU and the implementation of the Europe 2020 goals. Its involvement in the creation and operation of the groupings in different countries is much diversified. Despite some similarities between EGTCs established by Hungarian and Polish local governments, differences in the governments’ attitude towards the role of groupings exert considerable influence, especially concerning the number of registered EGTCs.
Euroregion and EGTC
International cooperation of local government, especially in the case of borderlands, was an important part of the European integration process after the Second World War. These bottom- up initiatives, inspired by local needs, were ahead of intergovernmental projects and regulations. The first regulations were prepared by the Council of Europe. Conventions, supplemented by model agreements, contracts and status were the basis for formalizing cooperation. Over the years, the most popular formula of cooperation became the Euroregions. Especially active were regions in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries. The first cross-border relationship – called Euregio – was created on the German-Dutch border in 1958. Cooperation through the Euroregion formula gradually spread to other countries of Western Europe, and after 1989 also to the countries of Central Europe.
Cross-border cooperation was an important part of preparation for EU membership for Central European countries. Important stimulators also included pre-accession funds used to exchange experience, for infrastructure projects and to support the development of tourism. The first Euroregion with the participation of Polish local governments was established in 1991. Two years later, the Carpathian Euroregion was launched in Hungary. It was formed by representatives of the regional administration of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine (…).
EGTC- Poland and Hungary
Despite many differences between EGTCs created with Polish and Hungarian local governments, there are also some similarities. Both countries present traditions of cross border cooperation. The Euroregional cooperation and twin city relations were developed after the system transformation during the 1990. In both countries the local/regional government or its association participates in this form of cooperation. Similarities are also found in the main objectives. They focus on quite traditional cross-border initiatives related to territorial cohesion, regional development, culture, tourism and transport. Many of them emerged from informal cooperation platforms or Euroregions structures.
The Report on the state of Regionalisation in Europe.
More than 40 experts contributed to this work, by delivering detailed reports about the state of regionalisation and multilevel governance in chosen European countries. The study covers 41 countries, and each country report is based on a similar structure, thereby allowing a comparative approach among all studied countries.
- The first part of the report gives the political impetus from the main European stakeholders
- The second part of this report entails a summarised version of the country reports. The objective is to provide interested readers with a short overview of the main features of regionalisation in various European countries. The complete versions of the country reports are available on the AER website, under LINK
- The third part provides a thematic approach based on the main findings delivered by the country reports and the current state of regionalisation in Europe. The trends and outlooks lead to open questions on the future of the regions in the European landscape, and more broadly on the role of subnational authorities in the shaping of the continent.
- The fourth part gives the floor to the actual regional decision-makers in Europe, across a series of interviews and statements by Presidents, Vice-Presidents and elected representatives of the European regions.
Over the next months, we will be focusing on a different European country’s approach to regionalisation. During these months, look out for #RoR2017 on Twitter and/or Facebook and follow us at @europeanregions.
Strong European regions are a pathway to a stronger Europe.