The calls for proposals of b-solutions and b-solutions 2.0 are structured in specific thematic areas which cover fields considered of primary importance for the development of border regions.
Thematic areas indicated in the European Commission’s report "EU Border Regions: Living labs of European integration (COM(2021) 393 final)":
The EU Member States have different administrative cultures and systems. This diversity can be a constraint when different systems meet. The lack of a common approach or understanding and the limited existence of mutually recognised documents can lead to lengthy and costly procedures, even for key life events.
People living in border regions often find themselves located far away from services within their national boundaries and digitally insufficiently connected, but close to proximity services on the other side of the border. Some border regions already have a long tradition of sharing public services or even of pooling resources to offer proximity services to all residents living on both sides of a national border in various fields (health, education, culture, leisure, etc).
Labour markets and education
Creating a genuine cross-border labour market presents many advantages for businesses, employees and job-seekers. For example, employers have access to a larger pool of skills and competences and job seekers can access more job vacancies.
However, many obstacles in this field hinder border regions to fully realise these advantages. Common difficulties are related to the recognition of qualifications, the identification of available jobs, the complexity of national tax and access to social security regimes, the language difference, etc.
European Green Deal
The challenges linked to climate change and the environment go beyond borders. To address those challenges, cross-border actors are encouraged to think and act collectively in the framework of the European Green Deal.
Obstacles related to the European Green Deal can include difficulties in collaborating on topics such as the energy sector, biodiversity preservation, disaster risk management planning, circular economy, green transports.
Thematic areas indicated in the European Commission’s Communication "Boosting Growth and Cohesion in European Border Regions (COM(2017)534)":
Labour mobility and employment have been recognised as the most important areas affected by border legal obstacles. Hindrances identified within this field refer, especially, to the recognition of qualifications of cross-border commuters, problems of double taxation or inconsistencies identified within the social securtity systems. Additionally, obstacles arise also in relation to the completion of apprenticeships across the border, with regards to the access of job and traineeship opportunities for non-EU citizens or concerning the establishment of cross-border business incubators. To know more.
Public transport (of passengers)
Transport is a key enabler of connectivity between regions across national borders. Obstacles identified under this category refer, in particular, to three main aspects: the absence of infrastructure across the boundaries or the presence of low-quality or not efficient facilities, the settling and provision of transport-related services and the quality of such services. To know more.
Health, including healthcare emergency services
The healthcare systems within the EU are a primary component to enhance social cohesion and development and they acquire even more importance in perihperal areas, where citizens are confronted with additional difficulties. Hurdles identified within this thematic area are mostly related to the impossibility to provide certain services on the other side of the border but also to the health insurances coverage for patient residing in the neighbouring country(s), as well as to the provision of healthcare staff in cross-border hospitals. To know more.
Many border obstacles arise from the existence of different national legal frameworks and inconsistent administrative procedures which collide, generating conflict at the borders and creating uncertainties and complexities. Obstacles selected within this thematic areas are diverse and cover a wide spectrum of situations.In some cases they derive from incompatible transpositions of European legislation or from administrative procedures that have a centralised nature and don't take in consideration the cross-border dimension. Furthermore, a lack of a common technical approaches emerges as well as the absence of mutually recognised documents, databases and processes. To know more.
Promoting multilingualism, especially in border-regions, namely by learning the language of the neighbour region, would clearly lead to an increase of meaningful exchanges between all levels of public administration and individuals, improving daily cooperation across borders. The hurdles identified under this priority field relate to the access to school institutions in the neigbhouring country and to the removal of technologies preventing access to multilingual audio-visual contents. To know more.
In its eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 (COM(2016)-179), the European Commission set out a long term programme to foster the promotion of digital procedures and activities of public administrations. However, eGovernment solutions are designed at national level and don't take in consideration the specificies of cross-border administrative actors. The obstacle selected under this thematic area is related to the presence of incompatible e-platforms for public tenders. To know more.
Access to available and reliable information is vital for citizens residing, working or benefitting services across the borders. When this is not possible, interactions and implementation of cross-border projects is prevented. No obstacles were selected within this thematic area during the first two calls for proposals.
Evidence and data
Collecting data and evidence on border interactions is necessary to ensure efficient cooperation in many areas. The current limited availability of statistical and geospatial data on cross-border flows or their incompatibility have negative effects on policy and decision-making and on the implementation of projects in border regions. During the previous calls for proposals, no obstacles were selected in this field.