Ludmila Sfirloaga: “Cross-border co-operation requires genuine political will”
05.03.2009 - “Without genuine political will, not only at national level but also at local and regional level, attempts to improve citizens’ lives in border regions and co-operate with neighbouring regions are bound to fail,” said Ludmila Sfirloaga, President of the Chamber or Regions, at the opening of the debate on cross-border co-operation, on 5 March 2009.
The South Adriatic Eurodistrict was presented as an example of cross-border co-operation by Marija Katovic, Mayor of Kotor (Montenegro). This Eurodistrict includes 17 municipalities from Montenegro, Albania and Italy and operates on the basis of an agreement setting out the way it is organised and functions. “We are convinced that European countries around the Mediterranean such as Montenegro, Italy and Albania should play a key role in such collaboration.”
“Cross-border co-operation provides valuable experience of partnerships, supplementing inter-state relations,” said Stephan Kirichuc, President of the National Congress of Russian Municipalities. “48 regions in our country are situated on a border, 37 of them have 14 countries of the world as their neighbours. It is therefore essential to have good relations with our neighbours,” he added.
Speaking in the debate, Jean-Paul Heider, Vice-President of the Association of European Border Regions, presented the tri-national metropolitan region of the Upper Rhine. “This region is special in that it comprises three countries, two languages and a common history, and is based on four pillars: politics, economics, science and civil society,” he said.
Speech by Ludmila Sfirloaga, President of the Chamber of regions
Speech by Marija Katovic, Mayor of Kotor (Montenegro)