Expert panel organised by Maastricht University (ITEM) and the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

26maa14:3017:30Expert panel organised by Maastricht University (ITEM) and the Representation of the State of North Rhine-WestphaliaSolving Cross-Border Problems with the “Cross-Border Facilitation tool”?

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Closed event

Solving Cross-Border Problems with the “Cross-Border Facilitation tool”?

The implications of the amended Commission proposal on the regulation of a cross-border mechanism (ECBM)

The expert panel will bring together academics, legislators and practitioners in order to assess the quality of the amended proposal. On 12 December 2023 the European Commission has put forward an amended proposal of the European Cross-Border mechanism (COM (2023)790) as a response to the concerns and recommendations made by the two co-legislators Council and European Parliament.

How is the new version assessed from an academic point of view when compared to proposals in the past? From a practitioner’s point of view, what type of coordination points do already exist in the Member States that can be compared to the coordination points described in the regulation? From a legislator point of view, how do the European Parliament, the Member States and the Committee of the Regions read the new version?

The background

Cross-border projects and cooperation face a multitude of administrative and legal obstacles. The Commission’s amended proposal was a reaction to the European Parliament resolution of 14 September 2023 emphasizing the importance of the adoption of an amended proposal for border regions. Council and European Parliament have started their work on the regulation that includes also a change of the title. The new proposed name is “Regulation on Facilitating Cross-Border Solutions” and instead of “cross-border mechanism”, the term “cross-border facilitation tool” is introduced.

In essence, the Commission proposes that Member States set up Cross-border coordination points, which will assess requests submitted by border stakeholders on potential obstacles and act as a liaison between them and the national authorities. The proposal would ensure that stakeholders receive a response after the assessment of each request. The initiated process to solve border problem is called “Cross-Border Facilitation Tool” that is described as a “voluntary standard procedure” to resolve administrative and legal obstacles in cross-border regions. The decision on whether or not to resolve an obstacle would remain the prerogative of the competent national authorities.


14.30 hrs         



15.00 hrs Welcome – Rainer Steffens, Landesvertretung NRW/Prof. Anouk Bollen ITEM

 Moderator Martin Unfried and Pim Mertens ITEM

15.10 hrs What’s new in the amendment? A short introduction to the new proposal

 Ricardo Ferreira, DG Regio, European Commission


15.20 hrs An academic view on the amended ECBM-proposal: real innovation for the cross-border toolbox?

Martin Unfried and Pim Mertens, ITEM


15.30 Panel debate: Cross-border coordination points and the experiences and expectations of existing initiatives


Sebastiaan Hupkes, Schakelpunt/Cooperation Point, The Netherlands and Flanders

Jan Schliewert, Euregio Meuse-Rhine (BE/DE/NL)

Christiana Ijezie, Taskforce Grenzgänger, Greater Region/Saarland

16.00 hrs Coffee break
16.15 hrs 





16.25 hrs




From BridgEU to the cross-border facilitation tool

The Proposal from the perspective of the European Parliament

Sandro Gozi, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur (BridgEU Resolution)


The debate in the Council

Ms Emmeline Allioux, Councillor at the French Permanent Representation

Niels Wichette, Permanent Representation

of the Federal Republic of Germany


The Committee of the Regions: Current cross-border coordination in light of the Commission proposal

Tanya Dimitrova, Committee of the Regions

16.45 hrs Panel debate:

Cross-border expertise and legal instruments: how to explore the diversity of problems?

Pim Mertens, ITEM

Anne Thevenet, TEIN, network of European cross-border Institutes, Kehl/Strasbourg

Martin Guillermo Ramirez, Association of European Border Regions, b-Solutions

Katalin Fekete, CESCI, Budapest

17.15 hrs Conclusions and Farewell – NRW/ITEM



(Dinsdag) 14:30 - 17:30


Landesvertretung NRW in Brussel