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The EGTC GO’s experience transforming cross-border differences into opportunities with b-solutions

The EGTC GO has been a driving force of cross-border cooperation between the municipalities of Gorizia (IT), Nova Gorica (SI) and Šempeter-Vrtojba (SI). “The EGTC made it possible to pool together their potentials and shape a unique blend of tourism, culture, economy, education and infrastructure (…), while improving the lives of citizens”, explain Lara Devetak and Micaela Passon, project managers at EGTC GO.

One of the current initiatives being implemented by the EGTC GO, in cooperation with other actors in the whole cross-border area, is the nomination of the two cities Nova Gorica (SI) and Gorizia (IT) as European Capital of Culture (ECoC) for 2025. Having won, this novelty comes with the challenge of organising one event in a space in which two national regulations apply: the Slovenian one and the Italian one.

The EGTC GO applied for b-solutions’ support in order to prepare itself at best for the ECoC and address the specific case of the GO! Borderless Square to organize cultural events on the Trg Evrope – piazza Transalpina square, which stands half in Italy and half in Slovenia, and therefore to comply with different and sometimes incompatible systems of national rules in areas such as security, insurance coverage, music rights.

Between August and October 2022, Mitja Ozbič, a b-solutions expert, analysed the obstacles in detail and suggested potential solutions. Among them, we can find the elaboration of a vademecum which identifies all the necessary procedures to carry out to organize an event on the Transalpina/Trg Evrope Square, both for the Italian and Slovenian part. The most ambitious solution he suggested is the creation of a special legal zone on the border that would allow for an exception to how norms apply. With such special legal zone, it could be possible to apply alternatively the Italian or Slovenian legislation to all aspects of the event, regardless of where the event takes place.

For Micaela and Lara the square is not Italian nor Slovenian: “Taking into account the cross-border peculiarity of the square, it is necessary to reformulate the entire approach to the use of the common area, which has to be defined not as a separate area, but as a single, common place, so to ease the administrative obstacles and allow deeper and easier cooperation“, they tell AEBR.

That is why the EGTC GO has favored the latter solution of creating a special legal zone. Inspired by the 2018 ECBM proposal aimed at facilitating cooperation between cross-border regions, this would allow to apply to the specific territory the legal provisions of one of the two neighbouring Member States, also on the territory of the other one, circumventing thus the appearance of legal obstacles when norms on the two sides of the border are not compatible.

Lara and Micaela see this as a helpful tool: “The intent is to have a unique administrative procedure to be used by Italian and Slovenian proponents, in spite of where the event takes place. An agreement between the two Member States would define which national rules to select, maybe following the rule of the legislation of the proponent of the event”.

To move towards the implementation of this ambitious solution and reach a bilateral agreement, the EGTC GO is participating to a second phase of b-solutions. In this framework, Lara and Micaela tell us that the EGTC GO has started to compare the administrative and normative procedures required in both countries to implement events, with the help of technicians from both states which was made possible thanks to b-solutions.

We need the help of national and European institutions that, through an innovative approach, could guarantee the success of this important calling”, they underline.

The EGTC GO will present the results of the undergoing analysis through a workshop to be organised in the autumn, closing the implementation of its b-solutions’ case.


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