Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) is a concerted process of building neighbourly relationships between local stakeholders and authorities on both sides of national borders. It is a highly heterogeneous process in terms of relations, actors, institutional settings, legal frameworks and financial tools involved.
CBC is not about conveying additional powers to border communities or authorities. Rather, CBC is a more efficient way of exercising their powers and implementing actions which are effective, efficient and coherent. The goals of CBC is overcoming a problem shared by communities, that happen to be divided by national borders.
Cross-Border Cooperation between territorial communities or authorities is a constant priority for the Council of Europe.
In 1980 the Council defined the legal framework for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Madrid Convention, a document on transfrontier co-operation between territorial communities or authorities developed within the European Outline Convention. The Madrid Convention was followed by three protocols adopted on 9 November 1995, 5 May 1998 and 19 November 2009.
Successful CBC activities require several elements: the knowledge of the cross-border area (resources and challenges), the definition of a coherent strategy for its development, the knowledge of viable legal and financial tools, the stakeholders’ good will and, finally, a certain degree of creativity.
The implementation of CBC activities is determined by the way in which states are organized, by the capacities and competencies of local authorities and communities, by the access to relevant legal and financial frameworks and by the propensity to cooperate of the stakeholders of a border area.
CBC activities thus vary considerably from one border area to another – notwithstanding local peculiarities, successful CBC instances are characterised by a continuous effort to create solutions to overcome the obstacles that arise during the implementation process. It is to support this effort that the EDEN database has been created.
EDEN is a database containing best practices of CBC collected from European actors. The best practices have been collected by the Council of Europe and ISIG (Istituto di Sociologia Internazionale di Gorizia) with a questionnaire sent to the CBC offices of more than 20 European countries.
EDEN is based on the principle that knowledge is power, giving to policy-makers and administrators the opportunity to learn from their European colleagues. Having to face an obstacle arisen during the implementation of a CBC activity, the institutional actor can now consult this database, look for similar issues and obstacles, and see what solutions have been found by other institutions.
EDEN aims at developing a network of knowledge, giving policy-makers and administrators a tool for improving their CBC activities.
This network of knowledge can also become a network of partners: each contributor to the database can be reached by their contact information, allowing users to ask for more information on a specific CBC activity or to propose a partnership to solve a shared obstacle.
If you want to browse the best practices, you can start by going to the database page and selecting your section of interest:
- Areas: here you can choose a specific area of intervention (Labour Market, Health-Care, Education and Training, …) and then browse the activities other users implemented, the obstacles they encountered and the solutions they found;
- Issues: from here you can see all the CBC activities that the users implemented, and browse them by area;
- Obstacles: here you can find all the obstacles that have been encountered in the implementation of CBC activities, and browse them by area and by the factors that contributed the most to them;
- Solutions: here you can find all the solutions that the users found to the obstacles they encountered, and browse them by area.
If you want to contribute to the database, sharing CBC issues, obstacles and solutions that you encountered, please go to the participation page and fill the form – we will contact you shortly for more information.
Finally, you can go to this page for further documentation on Cross-Border Cooperation.