BETA


2018/0198(COD) Mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context

Progress: Awaiting Council 1st reading position / budgetary conciliation convocation

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead REGI ZELLER Joachim (icon: PPE PPE), SMOLKOVÁ Monika (icon: S&D S&D), PIOTROWSKI Mirosław (icon: ECR ECR), PAPADIMOULIS Dimitrios (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), ROPĖ Bronis (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE), D'AMATO Rosa (icon: EFDD EFDD)
Former Responsible Committee REGI VAN MILTENBURG Matthijs (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Former Committee Opinion ENVI VĂLEAN Adina-Ioana (icon: PPE PPE) Valentinas MAZURONIS (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Former Committee Opinion JURI
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
TFEU 175-p3

Events

2019/10/02
   EP - Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations after 1st reading in Parliament
2019/04/16
   Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2019/02/14
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2019/02/14
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 489 votes to 55, with 82 abstentions, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context.

The European Parliament's position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure amended the Commission's proposal as follows.

Voluntary mechanism

Parliament wanted to clarify certain aspects, in particular as regards the voluntary nature and scope of the mechanism, as well as the subsidiarity and proportionality of the proposal. It considered that the application of the mechanism shall be on a voluntary basis based on a case-by-case assessment by Member States of a specific joint project in a cross-border region. The Regulation shall not affect, by any means, the sovereignty of Member States nor contradict their constitutions.

To remove legal obstacles to the implementation of a joint project in cross-border regions on one of its borders with one or more neighbouring Member States, Member States may thus decide to activate the mechanism or use other means.

Cross-border coordination points

Members suggested that coordination points shall be required in all Member States. Since the application of the mechanism is voluntary, it shall be possible for Member States to choose using an instrument which they consider to be more beneficial. The Commission shall create a database of all national and regional cross-border coordination points. The implementation of the Regulation shall be accompanied by a supporting communication strategy with the aim of promoting the exchange of best practices; providing practical information and interpretation of the subject area and the thematic focus of this Regulation; and clarifying the precise procedure for concluding a Commitment or Statement.

Own-initiative document

If an initiator identifies a legal obstacle to the planning, development, financing, staffing and operation of a joint project, he should draw up an own-initiative document describing the joint project and its context, the legal obstacle or obstacles in the Member State of application and the decisive reasons for removing these legal obstacles.

Within six months (rather than three months) of receipt of the initiative document, the competent cross-border coordination point in the implementing Member State shall send a written reply to the initiator in which it may: (i) redirect the initiator to opt for an existing mechanism to resolve one or more legal obstacles hampering the implementation of the joint project or to directly transmit the initiative document to the competent body under the corresponding mechanism; (ii) inform the initiator that one or more of the Member States concerned have decided not to resolve one or more of the legal obstacles identified by the initiator while setting out the reasons for that decision in writing.

Report

By the 1st of the month following the date of entry into force of the Regulation plus three years, the Commission shall report on the application of the Regulation. Prior to the preparation of this report, the Commission shall carry out a public consultation of the various stakeholders involved, including local and regional authorities and civil society organisations.

Documents
2018/12/05
   CofR - Committee of the Regions: opinion
Documents
2018/11/29
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The Committee on Regional Development adopted the report by Matthijs VAN MILTENBURG (ALDE, NL) on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context.

The committee recommended that the European Parliament's position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission's proposal as follows.

Voluntary mechanism : Members wanted to clarify certain aspects, in particular as regards the voluntary nature and scope of the mechanism, as well as the subsidiarity and proportionality of the proposal. They considered that the application of the mechanism shall be on a voluntary basis based on a case-by-case assessment by Member States of a specific joint project in a cross-border region.

To remove legal obstacles to the implementation of a joint project in cross-border regions on one of its borders with one or more neighbouring Member States, Member States may thus decide to activate the mechanism or use other means.

Cross-border coordination points : Members suggested that coordination points shall be required in all Member States. Since the application of the mechanism is voluntary, it shall be possible for Member States to choose using an instrument which they consider to be more beneficial. The Commission shall create a database of all national and regional cross-border coordination points. The implementation of the Regulation shall be accompanied by an information campaign providing clear and practical information that will facilitate its application by stakeholders.

Own-initiative document : if an initiator identifies a legal obstacle to the planning, development, financing, staffing and operation of a joint project, he should draw up an own-initiative document describing the joint project and its context, the legal obstacle or obstacles in the Member State of application and the decisive reasons for removing these legal obstacles. Within six months (rather than three months) of receipt of the initiative document, the competent cross-border coordination point in the implementing Member State shall send a written reply to the initiator.

Report : by the 1st of the month following the date of entry into force of the Regulation plus three years , the Commission shall report on the application of the Regulation. Prior to the preparation of this report, the Commission shall carry out a public consultation of the various stakeholders involved, including local and regional authorities and civil society organisations.

Documents
2018/11/22
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2018/11/22
   EP - Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations with report adopted in committee
2018/10/26
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2018/10/23
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2018/09/25
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2018/09/19
   ESC - Economic and Social Committee: opinion, report
Documents
2018/09/13
   SE_PARLIAMENT - Reasoned opinion
Documents
2018/08/10
   IT_SENATE - Contribution
Documents
2018/07/18
   PT_PARLIAMENT - Contribution
Documents
2018/06/21
   EP - VĂLEAN Adina-Ioana (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in ENVI
2018/06/20
   EP - VAN MILTENBURG Matthijs (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in REGI
2018/06/11
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2018/05/29
   EC - Legislative proposal published
Details

PURPOSE: to create a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context.

PROPOSED ACT: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council.

ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

BACKGROUND: since 1990, programmes under the 'European territorial cooperation' objective, better known as 'Interreg' , have supported cross-border cooperation programmes in EU border regions, including those with EFTA countries. Thousands of projects and initiatives that have helped to improve European integration have been funded.

In recent decades, the European integration process has helped internal border regions to transform themselves from mainly peripheral areas into areas of growth and opportunities.

However, the evidence gathered by the Commission shows that, in general, border regions generally perform less well economically than other regions within a Member State. Access to public services such as hospitals and universities is generally lower in border regions. Navigating between different administrative and legal systems is often still complex and costly. These programmes alone can hardly compensate for these differences.

In its Communication of 20 September 2017 on EU border regions, the Commission highlighted ways in which the EU and its Member States can reduce the complexity, length and costs of cross-border interaction and promoted the pooling of services along internal borders.

In 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency and several Member States studied the possibility of creating a new instrument to simplify cross-border projects by making it possible, on a voluntary basis and agreed by the competent authorities in charge, for the rules of one Member State to apply in the neighbouring Member State. This would apply to a specific project or action limited in time, located within a border region and initiated by local and/or regional public authorities. The Commission supports this idea and therefore proposes a voluntary mechanism to address legal obstacles in border regions.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the Commission considers that a voluntary mechanism to remove legal and administrative obstacles in all border regions would provide a cost-free legal framework in order to reduce the costs and time to complete certain cross-border projects. If 20% of existing legal and administrative obstacles found along internal borders were addressed, border regions would increase their GDP by 2%.

CONTENT: the proposal for a Regulation sets up a mechanism to allow for the application in one Member State, with regard to a cross-border region, of the legal provisions from another Member State, where the application of the legal provisions of the former would constitute a legal obstacle hampering the implementation of a joint project.

Characteristics of the mechanism : the mechanism shall consist of the conclusion of a European Cross-border Commitment, which is self-executing, or a European Cross-border Statement which requires a further legislative procedure in the Member State.

The mechanism shall:

remain voluntary : Member States may opt for the mechanism or use other effective mechanisms to resolve legal border barriers; focus on intra-EU land borders , while allowing Member States to also apply the mechanism to maritime and external borders; cover joint projects for any item of infrastructure with impact in a cross-border region or any service of general economic interest provided in a cross-border region.

Member States opting for the Mechanism set up under the proposed Regulation are obliged to establish a national or, in the case of federal states, regional Cross-border Coordination Points .

Procedure : the procedure for concluding a commitment or statement consists in:

the preparation and submission of the initiative document, to be drafted by the ‘initiator’ (for example, the public or private body responsible for initiating or both initiating and implementing a joint project or one or more local or regional authority located in a given cross-border region or exercising public power in that cross-border region; a preliminary analysis by the Member State which is requested to ‘pull over the border’ the legal provisions of the neighbouring Member State; the drafting of the Commitment or Statement to be concluded; and finally the conclusion of the Commitment or Statement and its signing by the competent authorities of both Member States.

Implementation : the Commitment is implemented by, where relevant, amending existing administrative acts based on the ‘normally’ applicable law or adopting new administrative acts based on the law ‘pulled over the border’.

The Statement must be implemented by one or more submissions of proposals to the competent legislative body in order to amend the national law to cover the necessary derogations.

In both cases, once all steps planned are implemented, the Cross-border Coordination Point must inform its counterpart in the other Member State and the EU coordination point.

Documents

Votes

A8-0414/2018 - Matthijs van Miltenburg - Vote unique 14/02/2019 12:06:43.000

2019/02/14 Outcome: +: 489, 0: 62, -: 55
DE IT ES FR RO PL AT NL PT BG HU CZ BE FI SE HR SI SK LT GB IE LV EL LU DK MT EE CY
Total
81
54
42
64
24
45
18
25
18
14
13
18
16
12
12
10
8
12
8
55
7
7
16
5
11
5
4
2
icon: PPE PPE
173

Belgium PPE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom PPE

2

Ireland PPE

3

Luxembourg PPE

2

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
145

Netherlands S&D

3

Bulgaria S&D

2

Hungary S&D

2

Czechia S&D

3

Croatia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Lithuania S&D

1

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

For (1)

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
59

Romania ALDE

For (1)

1

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Portugal ALDE

1

Sweden ALDE

Abstain (1)

2

Croatia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Lithuania ALDE

2

United Kingdom ALDE

1

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

1

Estonia ALDE

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
45

Italy Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Hungary Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

For (1)

3

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

4

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
40

Italy GUE/NGL

2

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Portugal GUE/NGL

For (1)

4

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

2

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
33

Germany EFDD

For (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1

Czechia EFDD

Against (1)

1

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
60

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Bulgaria ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Belgium ECR

3

Finland ECR

2

Croatia ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Slovakia ECR

Against (1)

3

Lithuania ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Latvia ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1
icon: NI NI
17

Germany NI

Abstain (1)

2

Italy NI

For (1)

1

France NI

2

Hungary NI

2

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Denmark NI

1
icon: ENF ENF
34

Germany ENF

Against (1)

1

Poland ENF

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

4

Belgium ENF

Abstain (1)

1

United Kingdom ENF

3
AmendmentsDossier
106 2018/0198(COD)
2018/09/25 ENVI 16 amendments...
source: 628.371
2018/10/23 REGI 90 amendments...
source: 629.379

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  • date: 2018-05-29T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2018/0373/COM_COM(2018)0373_EN.pdf title: COM(2018)0373 type: Legislative proposal published celexid: CELEX:52018PC0373:EN body: EC commission: DG: url: http://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/regional-and-urban-policy_en title: Regional and Urban Policy Commissioner: CREȚU Corina type: Legislative proposal published
  • date: 2018-06-11T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: ENVI date: 2018-06-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety rapporteur: group: EPP name: VĂLEAN Adina-Ioana body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: ZELLER Joachim group: Verts/ALE name: ROPĖ Bronis group: EFD name: D'AMATO Rosa responsible: True committee: REGI date: 2018-06-20T00:00:00 committee_full: Regional Development rapporteur: group: ALDE name: VAN MILTENBURG Matthijs
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  • date: 2018-09-13T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/parlements_nationaux/com/2018/0373/SE_PARLIAMENT_AVIS-COM(2018)0373_EN.pdf title: PE623.874 type: Reasoned opinion body: SE_PARLIAMENT
  • date: 2018-09-19T00:00:00 docs: title: CES2790/2018 type: Economic and Social Committee: opinion, report body: ESC
  • date: 2018-09-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE628.357 title: PE628.357 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2018-10-23T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE629.379 title: PE629.379 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2018-10-26T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE629.597&secondRef=01 title: PE629.597 committee: ENVI type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2018-12-05T00:00:00 docs: title: CDR3596/2018 type: Committee of the Regions: opinion body: CofR
  • date: 2019-04-16T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=31869&j=0&l=en title: SP(2019)354 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
  • date: 2018-07-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2018)0373 title: COM(2018)0373 type: Contribution body: PT_PARLIAMENT
  • date: 2018-08-10T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2018)0373 title: COM(2018)0373 type: Contribution body: IT_SENATE
events
  • date: 2018-05-29T00:00:00 type: Legislative proposal published body: EC docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2018/0373/COM_COM(2018)0373_EN.pdf title: COM(2018)0373 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2018&nu_doc=0373 title: EUR-Lex summary: PURPOSE: to create a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context. PROPOSED ACT: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council. BACKGROUND: since 1990, programmes under the 'European territorial cooperation' objective, better known as 'Interreg' , have supported cross-border cooperation programmes in EU border regions, including those with EFTA countries. Thousands of projects and initiatives that have helped to improve European integration have been funded. In recent decades, the European integration process has helped internal border regions to transform themselves from mainly peripheral areas into areas of growth and opportunities. However, the evidence gathered by the Commission shows that, in general, border regions generally perform less well economically than other regions within a Member State. Access to public services such as hospitals and universities is generally lower in border regions. Navigating between different administrative and legal systems is often still complex and costly. These programmes alone can hardly compensate for these differences. In its Communication of 20 September 2017 on EU border regions, the Commission highlighted ways in which the EU and its Member States can reduce the complexity, length and costs of cross-border interaction and promoted the pooling of services along internal borders. In 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency and several Member States studied the possibility of creating a new instrument to simplify cross-border projects by making it possible, on a voluntary basis and agreed by the competent authorities in charge, for the rules of one Member State to apply in the neighbouring Member State. This would apply to a specific project or action limited in time, located within a border region and initiated by local and/or regional public authorities. The Commission supports this idea and therefore proposes a voluntary mechanism to address legal obstacles in border regions. IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the Commission considers that a voluntary mechanism to remove legal and administrative obstacles in all border regions would provide a cost-free legal framework in order to reduce the costs and time to complete certain cross-border projects. If 20% of existing legal and administrative obstacles found along internal borders were addressed, border regions would increase their GDP by 2%. CONTENT: the proposal for a Regulation sets up a mechanism to allow for the application in one Member State, with regard to a cross-border region, of the legal provisions from another Member State, where the application of the legal provisions of the former would constitute a legal obstacle hampering the implementation of a joint project. Characteristics of the mechanism : the mechanism shall consist of the conclusion of a European Cross-border Commitment, which is self-executing, or a European Cross-border Statement which requires a further legislative procedure in the Member State. The mechanism shall: remain voluntary : Member States may opt for the mechanism or use other effective mechanisms to resolve legal border barriers; focus on intra-EU land borders , while allowing Member States to also apply the mechanism to maritime and external borders; cover joint projects for any item of infrastructure with impact in a cross-border region or any service of general economic interest provided in a cross-border region. Member States opting for the Mechanism set up under the proposed Regulation are obliged to establish a national or, in the case of federal states, regional Cross-border Coordination Points . Procedure : the procedure for concluding a commitment or statement consists in: the preparation and submission of the initiative document, to be drafted by the ‘initiator’ (for example, the public or private body responsible for initiating or both initiating and implementing a joint project or one or more local or regional authority located in a given cross-border region or exercising public power in that cross-border region; a preliminary analysis by the Member State which is requested to ‘pull over the border’ the legal provisions of the neighbouring Member State; the drafting of the Commitment or Statement to be concluded; and finally the conclusion of the Commitment or Statement and its signing by the competent authorities of both Member States. Implementation : the Commitment is implemented by, where relevant, amending existing administrative acts based on the ‘normally’ applicable law or adopting new administrative acts based on the law ‘pulled over the border’. The Statement must be implemented by one or more submissions of proposals to the competent legislative body in order to amend the national law to cover the necessary derogations. In both cases, once all steps planned are implemented, the Cross-border Coordination Point must inform its counterpart in the other Member State and the EU coordination point.
  • date: 2018-06-11T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2018-11-22T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2018-11-22T00:00:00 type: Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations with report adopted in committee body: EP
  • date: 2018-11-29T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2018-0414&language=EN title: A8-0414/2018 summary: The Committee on Regional Development adopted the report by Matthijs VAN MILTENBURG (ALDE, NL) on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context. The committee recommended that the European Parliament's position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission's proposal as follows. Voluntary mechanism : Members wanted to clarify certain aspects, in particular as regards the voluntary nature and scope of the mechanism, as well as the subsidiarity and proportionality of the proposal. They considered that the application of the mechanism shall be on a voluntary basis based on a case-by-case assessment by Member States of a specific joint project in a cross-border region. To remove legal obstacles to the implementation of a joint project in cross-border regions on one of its borders with one or more neighbouring Member States, Member States may thus decide to activate the mechanism or use other means. Cross-border coordination points : Members suggested that coordination points shall be required in all Member States. Since the application of the mechanism is voluntary, it shall be possible for Member States to choose using an instrument which they consider to be more beneficial. The Commission shall create a database of all national and regional cross-border coordination points. The implementation of the Regulation shall be accompanied by an information campaign providing clear and practical information that will facilitate its application by stakeholders. Own-initiative document : if an initiator identifies a legal obstacle to the planning, development, financing, staffing and operation of a joint project, he should draw up an own-initiative document describing the joint project and its context, the legal obstacle or obstacles in the Member State of application and the decisive reasons for removing these legal obstacles. Within six months (rather than three months) of receipt of the initiative document, the competent cross-border coordination point in the implementing Member State shall send a written reply to the initiator. Report : by the 1st of the month following the date of entry into force of the Regulation plus three years , the Commission shall report on the application of the Regulation. Prior to the preparation of this report, the Commission shall carry out a public consultation of the various stakeholders involved, including local and regional authorities and civil society organisations.
  • date: 2019-02-14T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=31869&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2019-02-14T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2019-0118 title: T8-0118/2019 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 489 votes to 55, with 82 abstentions, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context. The European Parliament's position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure amended the Commission's proposal as follows. Voluntary mechanism Parliament wanted to clarify certain aspects, in particular as regards the voluntary nature and scope of the mechanism, as well as the subsidiarity and proportionality of the proposal. It considered that the application of the mechanism shall be on a voluntary basis based on a case-by-case assessment by Member States of a specific joint project in a cross-border region. The Regulation shall not affect, by any means, the sovereignty of Member States nor contradict their constitutions. To remove legal obstacles to the implementation of a joint project in cross-border regions on one of its borders with one or more neighbouring Member States, Member States may thus decide to activate the mechanism or use other means. Cross-border coordination points Members suggested that coordination points shall be required in all Member States. Since the application of the mechanism is voluntary, it shall be possible for Member States to choose using an instrument which they consider to be more beneficial. The Commission shall create a database of all national and regional cross-border coordination points. The implementation of the Regulation shall be accompanied by a supporting communication strategy with the aim of promoting the exchange of best practices; providing practical information and interpretation of the subject area and the thematic focus of this Regulation; and clarifying the precise procedure for concluding a Commitment or Statement. Own-initiative document If an initiator identifies a legal obstacle to the planning, development, financing, staffing and operation of a joint project, he should draw up an own-initiative document describing the joint project and its context, the legal obstacle or obstacles in the Member State of application and the decisive reasons for removing these legal obstacles. Within six months (rather than three months) of receipt of the initiative document, the competent cross-border coordination point in the implementing Member State shall send a written reply to the initiator in which it may: (i) redirect the initiator to opt for an existing mechanism to resolve one or more legal obstacles hampering the implementation of the joint project or to directly transmit the initiative document to the competent body under the corresponding mechanism; (ii) inform the initiator that one or more of the Member States concerned have decided not to resolve one or more of the legal obstacles identified by the initiator while setting out the reasons for that decision in writing. Report By the 1st of the month following the date of entry into force of the Regulation plus three years, the Commission shall report on the application of the Regulation. Prior to the preparation of this report, the Commission shall carry out a public consultation of the various stakeholders involved, including local and regional authorities and civil society organisations.
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    • PURPOSE: to create a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context.

      PROPOSED ACT: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council.

      ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

      BACKGROUND: since 1990, programmes under the 'European territorial cooperation' objective, better known as 'Interreg', have supported cross-border cooperation programmes in EU border regions, including those with EFTA countries. Thousands of projects and initiatives that have helped to improve European integration have been funded.

      In recent decades, the European integration process has helped internal border regions to transform themselves from mainly peripheral areas into areas of growth and opportunities.

      However, the evidence gathered by the Commission shows that, in general, border regions generally perform less well economically than other regions within a Member State. Access to public services such as hospitals and universities is generally lower in border regions. Navigating between different administrative and legal systems is often still complex and costly. These programmes alone can hardly compensate for these differences.

      In its Communication of 20 September 2017 on EU border regions, the Commission highlighted ways in which the EU and its Member States can reduce the complexity, length and costs of cross-border interaction and promoted the pooling of services along internal borders.

      In 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency and several Member States studied the possibility of creating a new instrument to simplify cross-border projects by making it possible, on a voluntary basis and agreed by the competent authorities in charge, for the rules of one Member State to apply in the neighbouring Member State. This would apply to a specific project or action limited in time, located within a border region and initiated by local and/or regional public authorities. The Commission supports this idea and therefore proposes a voluntary mechanism to address legal obstacles in border regions.

      IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the Commission considers that a voluntary mechanism to remove legal and administrative obstacles in all border regions would provide a cost-free legal framework in order to reduce the costs and time to complete certain cross-border projects. If 20% of existing legal and administrative obstacles found along internal borders were addressed, border regions would increase their GDP by 2%.

      CONTENT: the proposal for a Regulation sets up a mechanism to allow for the application in one Member State, with regard to a cross-border region, of the legal provisions from another Member State, where the application of the legal provisions of the former would constitute a legal obstacle hampering the implementation of a joint project.

      Characteristics of the mechanism: the mechanism shall consist of the conclusion of a European Cross-border Commitment, which is self-executing, or a European Cross-border Statement which requires a further legislative procedure in the Member State.

      The mechanism shall:

      • remain voluntary: Member States may opt for the mechanism or use other effective mechanisms to resolve legal border barriers;
      • focus on intra-EU land borders, while allowing Member States to also apply the mechanism to maritime and external borders;
      • cover joint projects for any item of infrastructure with impact in a cross-border region or any service of general economic interest provided in a cross-border region.

      Member States opting for the Mechanism set up under the proposed Regulation are obliged to establish a national or, in the case of federal states, regional Cross-border Coordination Points.

      Procedure: the procedure for concluding a commitment or statement consists in:

      • the preparation and submission of the initiative document, to be drafted by the ‘initiator’ (for example, the public or private body responsible for initiating or both initiating and implementing a joint project or one or more local or regional authority located in a given cross-border region or exercising public power in that cross-border region;
      • a preliminary analysis by the Member State which is requested to ‘pull over the border’ the legal provisions of the neighbouring Member State;
      • the drafting of the Commitment or Statement to be concluded;
      • and finally the conclusion of the Commitment or Statement and its signing by the competent authorities of both Member States.

      Implementation: the Commitment is implemented by, where relevant, amending existing administrative acts based on the ‘normally’ applicable law or adopting new administrative acts based on the law ‘pulled over the border’.

      The Statement must be implemented by one or more submissions of proposals to the competent legislative body in order to amend the national law to cover the necessary derogations.

      In both cases, once all steps planned are implemented, the Cross-border Coordination Point must inform its counterpart in the other Member State and the EU coordination point.

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