Bringing regional development in border regions to the next level

Many facets of European cohesion are particularly evident at Europe’s inner borders. While cooperations at various levels brought cross-border integration and regional prosperity, barriers in peripheral border areas remain. To address current developments and prospects of German border regions and their positions both among themselves and in Europe, on 20-21 April 2023, scientists, area managers, and representatives of politics and other sectors participated in a “Border Region Academy” in Berlin, organised in the framework of the CoBo (Cohesion in Border Regions) project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Common Wadden Sea Secretariat contributed to the event by showcasing the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation as good practice of cross-border cooperation in the workshop “Tourism, Nature Protection, and Climate.”

The 2-day event started with an agenda-setting presentation of CoBo’s analyses on organising cohesion in border regions and the existing potentials. The participants went on to discussing important trends as well as opportunities and options from cohesion. The second day addressed current key topics in border regions with special focus on resilience of border regions and the experiences from recent crises. A panel discussion with representatives from the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community on possibilities of strategic spatial development in border regions ended the event. The academy concluded that border regions should dare more experiments and create instruments for increased cooperation at regional level or make greater use of existing ones.