Meeting of regional offices in Brussels representing EGTC


Thursday 15 January 2015, 14:30-16:30

Committee of the Regions
Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 99-101, Brussels
Room JDE 70


The CoR administration and representatives of regional offices involved in European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) met in Brussels on 15 January 2015 in order to reinforce the cooperation with the CoR, the networking and the transmission of information between Brussels and the local actors.

This meeting had been announced by Herwig Van Staa, political coordinator of the EGTC Platform, during the Open Days 2014. This proposal, suggested by the Director of the office of Lower Silesia, received a good feedback from the participants.

The information about the meeting had been disseminated to the regional offices in Brussels included in the database of the EGTC Platform, and also to the EGTCs, EGTCs under constitution and regional and local authorities of the Platform.

The meeting was conducted by Alfonso Alcolea, CoR administrator, with the support of Marc Kiwitt and Nicolás Sánchez. The contents are detailed in a presentation attached.

List of participants

CoR members and alternates:

Mas Portell, Esteban (ES/EPP)

EU Delegate of the Government of the Balearic Islands

Regional offices in Brussels:

Bańka, Monika

Regional Office of the Lubelskie Voivodeship in Brussels

Baričević, Lana

Representation of the City of Zagreb to the EU

Bassiaco, Laura

Friuli Venezia Giulia

Beloki, Amaia

Delegation of the Basque Country to the EU

Buldú Freixa, Imma

Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the EU

Butigan, Hrovje

Dubrovnik-Neretva & Karlovac Region

De Meeus, Kathleen

Midi-Pyrénées Europe

Dubois, Pauline


Dutkiewicz, Karolina

Regional Office of Silesia in Brussels

Fernández Panadero, Javier

Office of Castilla-La Mancha in Brussels

Gverić, Zvonka

Office of the Croatian Regions

Karavola, Katerina

Central Union of Municipalities of Greece

Keuschnigg, Matthias

Tyrol-South Tyrol office in Brussels

Marín García, Beatriz

Centre Balears Europa


Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano

Nieuwmeyer-Bernhart, Julia

EU-Representation Office of Carinthia

Oliver, Karin

Balearic Island Delegation

Ramos Barbosa, Ana

Fundación Galicia Europa

Rogala, Martyna

Lower Silesia Regional Office

Rydykowski, André

European Office of the Metropolitan Region Frankfurt Rhein Main - Brussels

Solé i Llort, Mireia

Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the EU

Suchecka, Jaroslawa

Regional Office of the Lubuskie Voivodeship in Brussels

Swietoslawsica, Katarzyna

Lower Silesia Regional Office

Szteliga, Andrzej

Regional Office of Silesia in Brussels

Tatala, Karol

Regional Office of the Lubuskie Voivodeship in Brussels

Vicens Vicens, Antoni,

Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the EU

Viviani, Raffaella

Friuli Venezia Giulia

Woods, Ewa

Lower Silesia Regional Office

Committee of the Regions – Secretariat

Alcolea Martínez, Alfonso
Administrator. EGTC and cross-border cooperation

Kiwitt, Marc
Administrator. EER - European Entrepreneurial Region

Sánchez Martínez, Nicolás
Assistant. EGTC and EER


1. Welcome and presentation

The meeting started at 14:30. Alfonso Alcolea welcomed the participants and announced the agenda and objectives:

To update the regional offices about the work done by the EGTC Platform and the project of action plan under the new CoR mandate;
To know each other allowing better networking and a fluent contact in order to make the EGTC Platform work better;
To get the impressions and suggestions of the regional offices related to the EGTC, in view of the next CoR mandate.

Mr Alcolea insisted on the added value of the regional offices in Brussels: The regional offices can transmit and improve the information between the institutions and the actors on the ground. They can use their network of institutional representatives, including lobbies, contacts in the European Commission and MEPs. In this moment, we are facing a new mandate of the CoR in which there will be new CoR members, new political priorities and a new coordinator of the EGTC Platform.

2. Introduction of the participants

See presence list.

3. Activity report of the EGTC Platform and possible contents of the action plan for 2015

Remarks in addition to the presentation of Alfonso Alcolea about the state of play of the EGTC and the activities of the Platform:

Currently, there are 50 EGTCs registered. The last one, Faja Pirítica Ibérica (ES/PT), still has to send several documents.

Raising awareness remains the big challenge at national and regional level, but also among the EU institutions.

The economic and budgetary crisis has affected severely the EGTCs. However, many regions and cities have done big efforts to maintain them, because they can deliver opportunities for the future.

About the revision of the EGTC Regulation, it is important to bear in mind the additional joint statements added by the Commission, the Council and the Parliament because they contain important political commitments related to the use of the EGTC beyond regional policy, to the intergovernmental cooperation related to the authorisation of new EGTCs, to the staff, and to the EGTC Platform of the CoR.

The activity report and the annual action plan of the EGTC Platform are in the Bureau decisions mentioned in the presentation. The EGTC Platform does not publish specific documents on activity report or action plan apart from the Bureau decisions, which are available in all the EU languages via TOAD and at the EGTC web portal.

The next edition of the EGTC award will be announced by November 2015 and will be awarded in 2016. The topic will be growth and jobs, as in foreseen in the Bureau decision governing the award. The new political coordinator will decide about making the award annual or leaving it biannual, and about keeping growth and jobs as subject or opening the award to other areas of the Strategy Europe 2020.

The outcome of the EGTC Platform in terms of contributing to CoR opinions is not very high and it should be improved.

The Unit E2 organised a workshop on the future of the platforms, and is preparing a study. The conclusions will be submitted to the new political coordinators. Concerning the EGTC, there are two proposals: Expanding the topic to cross-border cooperation, beyond the EGTC, and create an interregional group (intergroup) on cross-border cooperation in the CoR.

Concerning communication, Mr Alcolea encouraged the participants to use social networks, to use and to disseminate the studies, and invited them to include the CoR and the topic of the EGTC in the agendas of their groups that visit Brussels.

Among the priorities for the future, Mr Alcolea quoted the coordination with national authorities, the work on topics beyond regional policy, and the objective of cooperating with Interact in particular on the European Cooperation Day www.ecday.eu.

The participants were interested in the creation of an Intergroup on cross-border cooperation, because the members could push on this issue, act in coordination, raise awareness, exchange experiences and agree on amendments to the different opinions. The problem is the availability of time and space, which region could run the secretariat counting on some support of the Unit E2, and whether the political groups would agree on this. Mr Mas Portell (Balearic Islands on behalf of the Euroregion Pyrenees-Mediterranean) suggested the participants to check this possibility with each region's CoR Members in order to go forward with the creation of the Intergroup. Ms Woods (Lower Silesia) confirmed that they have discussed the creation of the Intergroup with Pavel Branda (CZ/ECR) and will support it in view of the new CoR mandate.

Ms Woods (Lower Silesia) mentioned the Climate KIC www.climate-kic.org, where Lower Silesia is a member region. She suggested thinking about possible synergies with other EGTCs working on the same topic, as KIC have a fast-track to Horizon 2020 funds. Mr Alcolea took note of the proposal and added that climate change and sustainability could be one of the topics for future work of the EGTC Platform.

4. Open floor. Information and exchange of views about cooperation with the regional offices in Brussels related to the EGTC Platform

Remarks to the presentation of Mr Alcolea on different topics for future cooperation:

Annual meeting of the Platform: The annual meeting will take place on 3 March at room VMA 1, so the webstreaming is not possible. The meeting will be chaired by the new political coordinator, who will be the chairperson of the COTER Commission unless he or she delegates in another member. The incumbent political coordinator, Mr Van Staa, will attend the meeting and say some words as farewell and transfer of the mandate. There will be a small lunch afterwards.

Seminars and external activities: The annual meeting of 3 March will be followed by a technical meeting (room 3253, starting at 14:30) on Innovation Procurement, presented by DG Connect. They are very interested in the participation of the EGTCs and the EGTCs are explicitly mentioned as eligible in the new call. Another workshop on the participation of the EGTCs in ETC programmes has been scheduled for 11 May (tbc) in cooperation with the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR).

Open Days: The topic has not been decided yet. Normally, there is a workshop organised by the EGTC Platform and others organised by EGTCs and associations related to cross-border cooperation, like the MOT. Ms Woods proposed to inform each other and to discuss before submitting the proposal of workshops, so we may obtain the highest participation and synergies.

Link with CoR members: The regional offices are invited to identify their members, in particular for the new mandate, in view to ensure their active participation in the activities related to the EGTCs and cross-border cooperation.


Concerning the European Parliament, the question is open whether the "Networking Group on Cross-border Cooperation" is still active. It was promoted by Mr Gilles Pargneaux (FR/S&D) and by Ms Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmidt (FR/EPP), but the latest is no longer a MEP. It is also important to involve the MEPs related to the different territories. Currently, Mr Joachim Zeller (DE/EPP), rapporteur on the EGTC Regulation, is the most active supporter of the EGTC community.
The CoR tries to contact the different DGs of the European Commission to mainstream the EGTC beyond regional policy. Every suggestion is welcome. The experience of the EGTC Platform is that there are better results when we go together with an EGTC dealing with concrete topics, like ZASNET with DG Environment or Cities of Ceramics with DG Enterprise (now DG Growth).
The CoR will work on EGTC and cross-border cooperation with the LUX Presidency, which will be very active on this matter.

Studies: The CoR will order the EGTC Monitoring Report 2015, and we are considering short studies on the staff, taxation or procurement of the EGTCs under the new Regulation. All the possibilities are open.

Website: The Unit E2 has got only one webmaster in this moment, and this has slowed the performance of the website which will be solved soon. The website will be refurbished and every suggestion is welcome.


The CoR works on a map of the EGTCs, but the completion is quite difficult.
The second edition of the brochure 'The EGTC delivering growth and opportunities' is foreseen for 2015, with ca. 8 or 16 pages on concrete EGTCs (depending on the final number of pages), so the EGTCs will be invited to provide with material if they wish to appear in it.
The CoR is planning a video on EGTC and a comic which several stories related to the EGTC. Mr Alcolea has requested the EGTC Platform with clipping, videos, stories and photos for these projects. When the EGTCs are not sure about the images, the regional offices may disseminate this request, suggest standard material (like existing videos or photos containing views of the region, activities like innovation fairs, transport or education), and inform the CoR about the presence of regional and local politicians so we may interview them in Brussels.

5. Conclusions & AOB

Esteban Mas Portell (ES/EPP alternate) presented the EGTC Pyrenees-Mediterranean, which involves four regions and 14.2 million inhabitants. He invited the participants to attend the meeting of the presidents of the four member regions with the EU institutions organised by the EGTC in the CoR building in Brussels on 26 February. The event will start at 12:00 with a networking lunch, followed by a roundtable between 13:15 and 15:00.

Ms Woods referred to the follow-up of the meeting and proposed the establishment of an informal network of regional offices involved in EGTC. Mr Alcolea agreed on the idea. A practical suggestion concerned the creation of an open e-mail list allowing the regional offices to identify interlocutors and exchange information. The Unit E2 will create this list, in which the participants will register voluntarily authorising the use of their personal data.

The meeting ended at 16:00.