MACRO-REGIONAL POLICY CHALLENGES AND BEST PRACTICE SOLUTIONS FOR JOINT CROSS-BORDER PLANNING, GOVERNANCE AND INTEROPERABILITY
Central European Service for Cross-border Initiatives and National University of Public Service successfully organized an international conference on cross-border integrated planning, governance and interoperability on 23rd of November, 2017. The international conference was organized within the Public Service Development Establishing Good Governance Project (PACSDOP-2.1.2-CCHOP-15-2016-00001).
The conference was started by opening speech of the Dean of the Faculty of Science of Public Governance and Administration, Norbert Kis, and by Rudolf Schicker who is a coordinator of PA10 of the EUSDR. Schicker underlined the importance of the Danube Region which mirrors significant variety of languages, cultures, societies and countries, either integrated or not integrated into the EU structures, hence there is no “one block” strategy for all the states of EUSDR, but every country of the Danube Region needs a specific and individual approach. Simply, cross-border cooperation is highly important in the Danube Region, since it generates significant ability to unify Europe was again.
After the greetings, the plenary session took place with András Nemeslaki, Nathalie Verschelde and Anouk Bollen. Verschelde underlined that there is a significant amount of GDP that is lost in the border regions because of legal and administrative obstacles which limit effective cross-border cooperation. Subsequently, reduction of legal and administrative barriers might function as a strategy to increase gross domestic product of border regions and the removal of barriers becomes substantial for those who daily cross the borders for different reasons. However, she underlined that there is no “one size fits all” strategy, hence every border line has different and specific needs which needs to be solved on case by case.
Aim of the first panel was to reveal some valuable intentions of cross-border spatial planning in the Danube Region. Panel presentations introduced some bottom up efforts (both theoretical and practical) for a better cross-border planning in the macro-region. Mátyás Jaschitz spoke about problems of cross-border cooperation, e.g. differences in the size and structure of administrative units. Kosyo Stoychev spoke about Bulgarian cross-border cooperation from geo-political perspectives, while Lilla K. Szilágyi presented the case of Komárno and Komárom.
The second panel introduced some best practice cases on cross-border territorial governance in the Danube Region. Péter Balogh introduced a cross-border cooperation typology of the Danube Region. Zoltán Bara spoke about Pons Danubii EGTC and about the successfully implemented projects and about some very innovative future cross-border projects and ideas. Hynek Böhm made a presentation on Šumava – Bayerischer Wald / Unterer Inn – Mühlviertel triborder cooperation.
Aim of the last panel was to figure out how digital governance could serve a better cross-border spatial planning and territorial governance in the Danube Region. The tools of EU level policy making, the problematic fields of digital governance and its best solutions were interpreted in a cross-border logic. Three presenters, Andrea Halmos, Robert Müller-Török and Alexander Prosser spoke about the challenges of current governance systems, about possibilities and actual shortcomings and weaknesses of digital governance.
To conclude, international conference gathered valuable cross-border approaches about the Danube Region, it offered appropriate space for academic and theoretical discussions. The panel debates attempted to answer important cross-border questions and challenges. Moreover, the participating students received very complex picture on cross-border issues in the Danube Region.
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