Home to 150m citizens, the European Union’s border regions will be given an economic boost by the European Commission’s new “Border Focal Point” initiative. The aim is to provide tailored support to regions to help them break down barriers to jobs and investments.
For businesses, workers and students, navigating between different administrative and legal systems remains complex and costly.
“Over a quarter of Europe’s wealth is produced in its border regions but their full economic potential remains untapped,” said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu. “We are looking at a gold mine of opportunities, just waiting to be explored. The Commission will provide tailored support to these regions, for the direct benefit of their inhabitants.”
According to a European Commission press release on September 20, the new plan is in line with President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call to ensure fairness in our single market – as he stressed during his 2017 State of the Union speech last week.
The Border Focal Point, which will be operational as of January 2018, will consist of European Commission experts in cross border issues, who will offer advice to national and regional authorities, by gathering and sharing good practices through the creation of a new EU-wide online network.
For instance, to make border regions more attractive in terms of public services, this new initiative will map existing cross-border healthcare facilities, such as the cross-border healthcare zones on the Franco-Belgian border.
It will also study missing rail links along internal borders, for more efficient cross border public transport services.