The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) launched the present call for proposals in the framework of the b-solutions 2.0. Solving Cross-Border Obstacles initiative with the aim to facilitate cooperation across borders.
The present call for proposals takes place in a context of release of measures taken to halt the Covid-19 pandemic. Although AEBR and DG REGIO acknowledge that the borders’ control measures of national borders in Spring 2020 created new obstacles to cross-border cooperation, the call for proposals aims to collect cases of structural obstacles of a legal or administrative nature that exist beyond the temporary measures that have been put in place due to the pandemic. In this sense, obstacles subject to the present call for proposals should target structural obstacles rather than those arising due to temporary restrictions.
The general objective of b-solutions 2.0 is to promote sustainable solutions to obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature which hinder cross-border cooperation.
B-solutions 2.0 addresses border regions along EU internal land and maritime borders and along EU borders with EFTA and IPA countries.
The initiative’s outputs consist of the analyses of a maximum of 120 cases of crossborder obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature. The cases will be selected through calls for proposals and targeted research.
The b-solutions 2.0 initiative also aims at:
- supporting the implementation of 30 cases of cross-border obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature; and
- publishing content raising awareness of common obstacles hindering cross-border cooperation, and of potential solutions.
The main purpose of the call for proposals is to address cases where interactions across the border are more difficult because of the following structural reasons:
- lack of coherence of legislation4 applicable on the different sides of the border;
- inconsistencies, inexistence, or overlapping of different administrative procedures;
- applicable European, national or regional legislation or administrative procedure do not take into account the specificity of cross-border interactions.
- Thematic coverage for this call for proposals for the present call for proposals, applicants can submit advice case proposals addressing the following topics mentioned in the European Commission’s report (2021), which are to be considered in their cross-border dimension:
Benefits for the selected applicants
- Within the present call, successful applicants will be assigned the support of experts with sound knowledge of cross-border cooperation practices and competences in analysing a legal text and consultancy skills who will cooperate with the participants in b-solutions 2.0.
- Experts to advise the cases are selected by AEBR through an open call for expressions of interest. Experts will be matched with each case based on their field of expertise, their language skills and understanding of specific territories.
- The expert’s advice aims to grant support in defining the obstacle clearly and systematically, as well as in identifying a possible solution to it and outline the legal framework from which to proceed. The legal expert’s analysis attributed to successful applicants would lead, in each advice case, to a case report which underpins conclusions of their work relating to options for resolving the identified obstacle. This will include a description of the obstacle with indication of the legal/administrative provisions causing the obstacle; a description of possible solutions; a full list of all legal provisions relevant to the case with the correct citation both in original language and in English; and an executive summary. The template for the report will be assigned by AEBR to contracted experts.
- Experts are expected to visit successful candidates and stakeholders to carry out the analysis for a maximum of 9 days. However, in case of restrictions to travel due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, experts may decide to carry out the analysis and necessary interviews online.
- Experts carry out the visit and the analysis for a maximum of 9 days within a period of a maximum of three months. The three-months period starts on the date when the successful applicant is informed of the expert that has been assigned to the case. The start can therefore be expected a few weeks after the submission, upon selection by AEBR and validation by the European Commission’s Border Focal Point.
- In this chronological framework, the last advice period will end in April 2024.
- AEBR remunerates the experts for a 9-days advice period. The experts will produce a report according to the indications listed to be submitted to AEBR and the representatives of the successful case.
- Successful cases benefit from their participation receiving technical support by the expert who will provide legal advice on the obstacle identified. It should be noted that the selection as a successful case does not entail financial support.
- Successful cases do not need to file a report about their participation either.
- In conclusion of the analysis by the expert, successful cases are requested to fill] in a one-page document to evaluate their experience and endorse the report by the expert.
Target of the call for proposals
- The present call for proposals addresses eligible applicants to identify obstacles to cross-border cooperation in the following land and maritime border regions:
- EU internal border regions;
- Regions along the border between EU and EFTA countries;
- Regions along the border between EU and IPA countries.
- Eligible entities are:
- Public bodies at the national, regional or local level with a national boundary limiting their territory;
- Cross-border entities such as European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs), Euroregions, Eurodistricts, Eurocities and similar cross-border structures with legal personality, established under public or private law;
- “Bodies governed by public law” according to Art. 2(1) no. 4 Directive 2014/24/EU, if fulfilling following criteria:
- they are established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character;
- they have legal personality; and
- they are financed, for the most part, by the State, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law; or are subject to management supervision by those authorities or bodies; or have an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the State, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law; and
- “Public equivalent bodies”, namely entities under private law which meet the conditions specified. Applicants shall be located in an EU Member State or neighbouring EFTA or IPA country and share at least one land or maritime border with another EU Member State. Applicants located in an EU member state may also share a border with an EFTA country or an IPA country.
- For public bodies under, the concept of territory, as applied in this call for proposals, covers the territory for which a given public institution or body has a mandate, meaning the legal competence to intervene in certain areas and territories. As such, the territory is not limited to the territory in which one entity is located.
- The application can involve one or more co-applicants, possibly from the other side(s) of the border, but this is not a prerequisite. There is no maximum limit to the number of co-applicants, though the feasibility of the proposals should be taken into account when defining the consortia. Co-applicants may be private actors, too. A natural person cannot be, in any case, considered as a co-applicant.
- Successful applicants of the previous calls for proposals can apply again, on condition that the obstacle subject of the application is a different one. There are no restrictions as for the thematic area the obstacle should be categorised in.
- Unsuccessful applicants of the previous calls for proposals are welcome to apply again, possibly also with the same obstacle if still relevant, unless they had been excluded because the application was deemed as not eligible.
For more information, visit AEBR.