MEPs suggest new mechanism to remove cross-border obstacles

MEPs suggest new mechanism to remove cross-border obstacles

MEPs propose new mechanism removing administrative and legal cross-borders obstacles in the EU. It should simplify access to healthcare, education and business opportunities in the cross-border context and together with existing tools has the potential to create benefits amounting to €123 billion. Regional development committee (REGI) adopted its draft report with 35 votes against 1 and 0 abstentions.

EU countries to establish cross-border points

New framework for cross-border cooperation in the EU – Border Regions’ Instrument for Development and Growth in the EU (BridgeEU) – aims to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion by eliminating administrative and legal obstacles on an ad-hoc basis, without extensive administrative burden and with the involvement of local and regional authorities. According to the proposal, member states would be required to establish or designate a Cross-border Coordination Point tasked with analysining project proposals, liaising with competent local and regional authorities and monitoring implementation.

Voluntary triggering of cross-border tool

Public and private bodies, organisations supporting cross-border cooperation and initiatives would be able to come up with projects identifying obstacles halting cross-border development. The Cross-border Coordination Point would analyse it and suggest the next steps. If the solution required cooperation of another member state, national Cross-border Coordination Point can ask its counterpart to set up a Cross-border Committee representing all authorities that would need to be involved to design a joint solution. However, member states will be free to decide whether to use the cross-border mechanism or not. Moreover, countries could also decide to follow the same arrangements for border regions with candidate countries.

MEPs also want the European Commission to be in touch with cross-border coordination points, provide technical assistance, promote best practices and set up a public database listing all ad-hoc solutions.

Following the committee vote, rapporteur Sandro Gozi (Renew, FR) said: “Today’s vote confirms Parliament’s commitment to regional development across the borders. We must remove all existing obstacles. The BridgEU is a purely voluntary and easy-to-use instrument, conceived for tailor-made solutions to specific obstacles. I remain confident that the large majority achieved today will pave the way for a constructive cooperation with the Council and the Commission on a new legislative proposal, capable of compensating for the 400 billion euros and four million jobs lost annually due to cross-border legal and bureaucratic obstacles.”

Plenary will vote on the draft legislative initiative report in September.

Internal border regions cover 40 % of the EU’s territory, account for 30 % of its population (150 million people) and are home to almost 2 million cross-border workers. Despite Parliament’s adopted mandate on the proposed European Cross-Border Mechanism in 2018 and repeated calls on the Council to adopt its first-reading position, member states halted this draft legislation. In order to ensure that a new legislative proposal aimed at removing cross-border obstacles in the EU is prepared by the European Commission, MEPs suggest this new regulation using legislative initiative procedure.


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