Share the obstacle you face: make of a specific problem a European solution!
b-solutions is a 2-year initiative to tackle legal and administrative border obstacles/difficulties along EU internal borders. It is promoted by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) as one of the actions proposed in the referred Communication Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions, adopted by the Commission on 20 September 2017. The initiative is managed by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR).
With b-solutions, AEBR and DG REGIO strive to be closer to local administrations in border areas: the initiative represents a great occasion to collect information with a bottom-up approach in which practitioners of cross-border cooperation can tell what obstacles they encounter when trying to realise projects with the neighbouring countries.
To obtain as many information as possible about the state of play of cooperation within the European Union, AEBR and DG REGIO have planned to launch two open calls for proposals under b-solutions:
-one call for proposals in early 2018, addressing cross-border partnerships and structures from internal EU (and, potentially, EFTA as associated partners) land borders. The aim of the first call is to receive proposals for pilot actions showing projects which overcome legal and administrative border challenges presenting innovative solutions. 10 participants are awarded a sub-grant of up to € 20,000 each to support the realisation of the project;
-one call for proposals in early 2019, involving public authorities and cross-border entities from internal EU borders, with the possibility to involve also partners of EFTA countries. The objective of the second call is to involve public authorities which experience osbstacles of administrative and/or legal nature hampering cross-border cooperation and identify together such obstacles. 35 participants are awarded the support of experts who will help them assess the problem and envisage possible ways to overcome the difficulties.
After the implementation phase of the pilot actions, on the basis of the reports submitted by the participants, AEBR will produce a consolidated report (compendium) which will illustrate main findings and proposals to foster cooperation where obstacles where found. Lessons learnt and policy recommendations are expected to be major outputs. Not selected proposals will also be analysed so to have a broad and rich overview.
A crucial aspect of the b-solutions initiative is the capitalisation of the information collected which is relevant not just to EU and regional policy-makers but also to all cross-border actors around the EU. Hence, the dissemination and communication aspects of the initiative are fundamental for the long-term success of the action. The exploitation of results will concentrate on the replicability of tested solutions to solve cross-border obstacles in other EU border regions.