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Workshop 4

New forms of transborder and inter-territorial cooperation at the local and the regional level

  • prof. dr. Nico Groenendijk and dr. Gert-Jan Hospers (University of Twente)

The aim of this workshop is threefold:

  1. to provide an overview of recent developments in cross border and inter-territorial cooperation by municipalities and regions in Europe;
  2. to identify factors for success and failure of such cooperation;
  3. to identify innovative forms of cross border and inter-territorial cooperation.

As far as the development of cross border and inter-territorial cooperation by local authorities and regions in Europe is concerned, over the last two decades we have witnessed a major growth in such cooperation as well as an increase in the diversity of forms of cooperation. Although this development as such has been the subject of many recent publications, we do not have a systematic overview of different types of cooperation and how they are used in practice. In the descriptive (“mapping”) work that has been done there is a clear bias towards a distinctive set of well-known “settled” cases and towards Western Europe. The first aim of the workshop is to bring clarification in both conceptual and empirical terms of (the process of proliferation of) cross border and inter-territorial cooperation by municipalities and regions in Europe.

Secondly, the workshop deals with identifying factors that may account for the success or failure of (different forms of) cooperation. Are market-driven forms of cooperation more successful than policy-driven forms? What role do political ownership and entrepreneurship play? Is it important to include private actors? What is the impact of the domestic institutional-administrative set-up (i.e. the competencies of local authorities and regions to internationally cooperate), both in terms of constraints and possibilities? How about the institutional context of larger regional cooperation schemes like the European Union and the Council of Europe? How important is the membership of cooperative networks in terms of resources and policy-learning?

Finally, the focus will be on examples of cooperation that constitute best-practices of innovative governance. Often recently established cooperation (esp. in Eastern Europe) is based on governance structures that are modelled after matured and successful (Western European) examples of cooperation. Apart from deficiencies due to inadequate policy transfers, this imitation mechanism is at odds with the need for an innovative and tailor-made approach. Examples of such innovative governance in cross border and inter-territorial cooperation in Europe will be discussed, supplemented by examples from North America.


See also relevant COE Documents

See the papers (select papers ws4... for this workshop)