18 Apr, 2023

Renew Europe CoR: Council paralysis costs 33% of EU GDP

Despite decades of European integration, legal and administrative obstacles in border areas between EU Member States continue to exist. Magali Altounian, Deputy Mayor of Nice, France and European Committee of the Regions (CoR) rapporteur on the opinion European Cross-Border Mechanism 2.0, raised key issues on this topic during the “Life in border regions” conference recently hosted by CoR.  

Often, EU border regions are left wondering how to address obstacles they face and the way forward. One possible tool to address these issues is the European Cross-Border Mechanism 2.0, which is currently being blocked in the Council of the EU. With about 30% of European citizens living in these border regions, the paralysis is causing an estimated loss of 33% of European GDP. Therefore, this challenge cannot be underestimated or left unresolved.

In her intervention, Altounian said:

“We have to resolve the persisting obstacles we face in border regions. These negatively impact integration, exportation, services, mobility, health systems, public services, the environment…the quality of life of our citizens is affected. It is a problem that might be misunderstood by people living far away or in the capitals of Member States, but it affects the daily life of citizens and businesses as they sit in a discriminatory position, constrained while they should be free to operate in the European Single Market.”

Her region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur has led the way in dealing with this issue through a trans border cooperation scheme 2020-2030, working together with the Principality of Monaco and the Piedmonte region in Italy by means of inter-metropolitan cooperation with cities such as Turin and Genoa for research and innovation.

Sandro Gozi MEP (Rensaissance, FR) added:

“The adoption of an EU instrument remains urgent to ensure cohesion and complete the Single Market.”

As rapporteur on the topic, he will soon present his proposal to the European Parliament.

Together with Altounian, CoR is now looking to relaunch a new version of the European Cross-Border Mechanism to push the European Commission to respond to issues raised by the border regions.

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