A fine example of a transnational co-operation project is the North Sea Cycle Route (www.northsea-cycle.com), funded, logically enough, through the North Sea programme. Essentially, this is a marketing exercise, selling a group of national cycle routes as a single North Sea trail. The beauty of this is twofold. Firstly, it has been done extremely well, with excellent visibility (the Guinness World Record for the longest cycle route is genius). Secondly, it seems to me that most cyclists are slightly deranged and view the 6000km length of the Route as a total challenge (witness the list of people who have completed the whole route in around 60 days! Mind you, they'll have trouble doing that now since the ferry connection to Shetland from Norway is being stopped).
At the project level, there appears to have been a genuine North Sea partnership created and there is no doubt that the whole exercise has been extremely professional. There are plenty of lessons here for project managers elsewhere.
Taking a broader view, how much impact does such a project actually have on the local populations? It might improve tourism takings marginally; it might make locals more aware of their own cycle routes; but what else? More generally, is this really what is meant by transnational co-operation? Does this provide the added value everyone seems to be looking for?
Even if the answers to these questions are unclear, looking at the overall impact of the project, it can only be considered a major success. Very few co-operation projects ever achieve this level of visibility at the European level and this can only be applauded.
Now, where's my bicycle pump?