Monday 6 July 2009

08.00 – 09.00  Registration of the participants and welcome coffee 

Opening address

  • Mr Ian Micallef, President a.i. of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Welcome address

  • Ms Odile Wolfs, member of the Provincial Executive of Limburg
  • Mr Gerd Leers, Mayor of Maastricht

Keynote address 

  • Mr Frans Timmermans, Minister for European Affairs
  • Mr Wim van Gelder, Netherlands Mediator for Transfrontier Cooperation

10.30 - 10.50  Current status of transfrontier co-operation in Europe and the latest developments

  • Mr Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Chair of the Congress Working Group on Inter-regional Co-operation

10.50 – 11.20  Coffee/tea break

11.20 – 12.20  Panel discussion on which legal instruments can facilitate best transfrontier co-operation

Panel moderator: 

  • Mr Hans-Martin Tschudi, former rapporteur on transfrontier co-operation for the Congress of the Local and Regional Authorities of Council of Europe, honorary member of the Congres, State Counsellor, Head of Department of Justice in Basel City, Switzerland

Panel members:

  • Mr. Slavisa Sucur - Vice President of the parliamentary committee for Local self government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Mr. Yeritsyan, President of Communities Association of Armenia; Vice-President to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the
    Council of Europe; Head of Armenian Delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe
  • Mr Auke van der Goot, Chair of the Committee of Experts on Transfrontier Co-operation of the Council of Europe, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands
  • Mr Charles Ricq-Chappuis, Professor of the University of Geneva
  • Mr Hans-Günter Clev, Director-General, Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT) 

During this panel, several practitioners from Eastern, South-East and Western Europe will engage in a discussion with the representatives of the CoE and MOT on the problems they encounter in practice because of certain legal obstacles, and what legal instruments they find necessary to make their work easier. The conference participants are invited to join the discussion. This panel discussion will result in several statements on which the Conference will elaborate during the three following sessions.

12.20 – 12.40  Assessing the value of legal frameworks

  • Dr Andreas Kiefer, Representative of the Länder, Landes-Europabüro  
    Salzburg, Austria  

This session will focus on two instruments for territorial co-operation on the international and supranational level in Europe: the EC Regulation on a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation adopted in 2006, on the one hand, and the planned Third Protocol to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co–operation between Territorial Communities and Authorities concerning Euroregional Co–operation Groupings of the Council of Europe, on the other hand. Which future perspectives for transfrontier co-operation in Europe do these two new tools open and do they respond to the needs of the member states and are they compatible with the fundamental principles of legislation prevailing in them?

12.40 – 13.00  Benelux convention on territorial co-operation: time for innovation

  • Mr Jan van Laarhoven, Secretary General of the Benelux Union

We need multilateral legal instruments to provide us with a clear and effective framework for institutionalised transfrontier co-operation, which can offer solutions in a long run. But we also need to have practical and workable agreements with our neighbours today to overcome existing numerous legal, cultural, economic, fiscal and methodological stumbling blocks. This may gradually be resolved as practical cooperation arrangements develop. Mr Van Laarhoven will focus therefore in his contribution on bilateral and trilateral legal instruments and will elaborate on a concrete example of the Benelux Convention and why it needs to be upgraded.

13:00 – 14:30  Lunch, at the invitation of the province of Limburg and the municipality of Maastricht in the Banqueting Hall (Feestzaal)

14.30 – 15.00  Euregio Meuse-Rhine: an experiment in transfrontier multi-level governance local, regional and national authorities

  • Ms Odile Wolfs, member of the Provincial Executive of Limburg 

Ms Wolfs will demonstrate the approach of the experimental Euregio Meuse-Rhine and will analyse the reasons for its successes and failures.

15.00 – 15.20 Multi-level governance: an integrated approach to addressing problems through co-operation among

  • Mr Thom de Graaf, Mayor of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Transfrontier co-operation calls for political support from local and regional authorities, but also from the national governments on both sides of the border, and provides scope for a joint solution to meeting the expectations and needs of those living in transfrontier areas. Mr De Graaf will focus in his contribution on the importance of multi-level governance for transfrontier co-operation and the need for good co-ordination through a body that is able to address questions on coherent policy for the transfrontier area.

14.50 – 15.20 

15:20 – 15:50  Black Sea Euroregion (BSER): Congress’ experience in the field of Euroregional co-operation

  • Ms Ludmila Sfirloaga, President of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress
  • Ms Mihaela Tudor, Constanta County Council, Romania

Ms Sfirloaga and Ms Tudor will focus in their contribution on the advantages and disadvantages of a newly established Euroregion and the adequacy of the Council of Europe legal instruments to facilitate the co-operation within this Euroregion.

15.50 – 16.20  Coffee/tea break

16.20 – 16.40  Transfrontier co-operation among non-EU members

  • Ms Nataliya Romanova, Vice-President of the Congress, President of Chernihiv Regional Council, Ukraine

While in some countries transfrontier co-operation is still connected with the notion of reintroducing good-neighbourly relations at local level (where this type of co-operation is very recent), in other countries it is perceived and implemented as a tool for economic and social development (where this type of co-operation is quite old already). This gap has to be bridged through a wide array of flexible solutions, allowing local authorities to be accompanied through the various stages, from embarking on bilateral dialogue through implementing specific projects to the ambitious stages of setting up Euroregions or equivalent forms of working communities between fully-fledged territorial communities or authorities. However, this development in the non-EU member states seems to be very slow. What prevents some of these countries from ratifying the Madrid Convention and/or its Protocols?

16.40 – 17.00  Prerequisites for successful co-operation on the boarders of EU and its neighbours

  • Mr Arunas Grazulis, Advisor on EU Issues, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania; Member of the joint monitoring steering committees of cross-border co-operation for Lithuania-Poland, Latvia-Lithuania, Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus and Lithuania-Poland-Kaliningrad region of Russian Federation

Mr Grazulis will focus in his contribution on the success and failure factors in transfrontier co-operation on the external EU borders. What is the experience of the EU border countries with the EU and Council of Europe instruments being applied at the same time?  What are the biggest obstacles in bringing EU and the rest of Europe together? And how can sharing the knowledge and information be improved and set to use for capacity building of local and regional authorities in transfrontier co-operation?

17.00 – 17.40  Panel discussion

Panel moderator: 

  • Mr Hans-Günter Clev, Director-General, Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT)

Panel members: 

  • Ms Odile Wolfs, member of the Provincial Executive of Limburg 
  • Mr Vincent Ketelaars, Senior Consultant, European Regional Affairs Consultants (ERAC)
  • Mr Dirk Peters, European Commission, DGRegio
  • Ms Nataliya Romanova, Vice-President of the Congress, President of Chernihiv Regional Council, Ukraine
  • Mr Arunas Grazulis, Advisor on EU Issues, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania
  • Mr F. Poni, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Albania

During this panel, the conference participants are invited to pose questions to the panel members and to reflect on the statements. This panel will also discuss the future work of the Council of Europe in the field of transfrontier co-operation and will result in adjusted statements that subsequently will be translated into the final declaration to be adopted on Tuesday morning.

17.40 – 18.00  Concluding remarks

  • Mr Miljenko Doric, Member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly

18.00 – 18.30  Meeting of the conference working group for the preparation of final declaration

20.00  Dinner at City Hall Maastricht, at the invitation of the province of Limburg and the municipality of Maastricht