Everyday tales and stories from the border regions of Europe and beyond, with the aim of explaining why we border-crossers are as obsessed as we are about this subject, why it is important to all of us, and why the co-operation community needs a little bit more visibility than it normally gets.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Association of European Border Regions

The AEBR (www.aebr.net) was set up in 1971 to provide a voice for the border regions of Europe. With the advent of EU regional policy, the AEBR's role has developed rapidly and it is one of the main regional organisations in Europe. Its role tends to be a cross between a lobbying organisation and a grouping applying for grants. This can cause tensions from time to time, since it tends to end up lobbying and asking for cash from the same body - the European Commission.

However, the lobbying element seems to work well, as there is often a clear AEBR influence on EU cross-border policy. The AEBR's connections with the European Parliament seem to be especially valuable with the last two AEBR President both being members of the EP.

Equally, the funding side of the business is apparently doing well, with the AEBR leading a major consortium in the Change on Borders project (www.change-on-borders.net) funded by INTERREG IIIC. There is a closing conference coming up for this project later in the autumn (see the events tab on the right). Also, for members, there is the AEBR annual conference in mid-September in Eastern Finland.

In my view, the AEBR is a valuable part of the cross-border lobby in Europe and an effective reminder that, with border regions containing over 1/3 of the EU's population, this is not a marginal or minority constituency, but a major player in European regional policy.

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