Workshops on cross-border territorial governance


Under the priority project PACSDOP-2.1.2-CCHOP-15-2016-00001, the National University of Public Service and the Central-European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives (CESCI) has been organizing a series of workshops on cross-border territorial governance, ending next spring. The workshops are held by the most prominent and influential professionals and researchers of frontier research. The workshop series covers the practical aspects as well as the theoretical and academic aspects of cross-border cooperation. The series of workshops will explain how governance tools can be used in overcoming obstacles hindering territorial development along the borders, and how separation effects of national boundaries can be reduced on the continent.

The growing role of the integrated European Union and cross-border cooperation has significant economic, social and political effects and side effects across the continent, which influences considerably the daily lives and the prospects of border regions. Efficiency and success of cross-border cooperation plays a major role in whether a given border region lagging behind will become a periphery or a developing region in cooperation with the neighbouring region. Consequently, research and investigation of cross-border cooperation has become an area of key importance in the early 21st century, which has been the principal topic of the workshop series.

The governance workshop series set itself the objective of establishing a comprehensive theoretical and practical framework of the area of governance, as well as those EU policies, which concern cooperation, such as legal, sectoral, management and financial policies.

The rapporteur of the first workshop was Jean Peyrony, director of the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière. The workshop started with the theoretical approach to cross-border cooperation, where Europe and six dimensions of cross-border territories were presented, as the market (single market, cross-border workers and consumers), functional (TEN-T , cross-border public services), civil (European Parliament, cross-border territorial governance), opinion (European and cross-border media), interpersonal (Erasmus), and inspired dimensions (moral, spiritual heritage and cross-border common culture and vision). Next, three successful partnerships were presented and discussed in detail, as the “bigger territory crossing Geneva”, “the extension of the cross-border tram line between France and Germany”, as well as “the cross-border hospital of Cerdanya” between Spain and France.

The speaker of the second workshop was James W. Scott, Professor of Regional and Border Studies. In his presentation, he outlined the importance and effects of borders not only on the physical plane but on mental and narrative planes as well. The presentation highlighted, that in the dimension of cross-border interactions it is important to build up trust between the cooperating parties, in other words, to establish such connections and cooperation, that are difficult to justify by quantitative indicators. What is more, these connections building mutual trust play a more important role than infrastructure projects or investment.

The third workshop took place in mid-November. This time it was the Finnish Anssi Passi, the famous professor of the University of Oulu, who accepted our invitation. The professor is an expert on the interaction between borders and cultural identity, who is often referred to at international level as well. In his presentation, he adapted a theoretical approach of the field, providing the audience with lots of original thoughts which could be useful in practice as well. As in the case of every workshop, following the presentation, a vibrant, professional discourse evolved between the rapporteur and the audience.

The following workshop will take place in March at the National University of Public Service. The speaker of this workshop will be David Newman, British-Israeli scholar in political geography and geopolitics, professor at the Ben Gurion University, expert on the functions and significances of borders.

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