European Straits Initiative

What is ESI?

The European Straits Initiative, launched in 2009 by Pas-de-Calais County Council and Kent County Council, the lead partners, now brings together 11 straits, representing 23 partners from Albania, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Sweden and United-Kingdom.

In light of the lack of consideration of the economic, environmental, social and human challenges that affect straits, providing real links between the hinterlands and outside territories, as well as laboratories for the implementation of an integrated maritime policy, ESI works towards the recognition of the specificities of European straits in current debates and the launch of structuring projects in these territories.

On Tuesday 23 November 2010, in the head office of Eurotunnel in Coquelles, fifteen European local authorities bordered by a strait were welcomed by the Deputy Leader of Kent Country Council, and the President of Pas-de-Calais County Council, lead partners of the European Straits Initiative, to sign the network's founding Memorandum of Understanding.

On 22 October 2014, in Brussels, joined by four new communities, the partners confirmed their commitment during the conference of the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding, co-chaired by Mr Michel Dagbert, President of Pas-de-Calais County Council, and Mr Mark Dance, member of cabinet of Kent County Council.

The objective of this memorandum of understanding is to connect authorities with similar geographical systems. The 2 main aims of cooperation are:

  • have the specificities of European straits recognised in European policy
  • work towards the emergence of exchange of experiences and European cooperation projects

Under the second objective, several projects have been supported by the European Union:

- the INTERREG IV C NOSTRA (Network Of STRAits) project (2012-2014) on cross-border governance of the straits for the protection of biodiversity was launched:

- the Interreg Europe PASSAGE project (Public AuthoritieS Supporting low-cArbon Growth in European maritime border regions), approved in 2016, on low-carbon transition of straits at the heart of maritime border regions:

Video of the launch of the initiative:


Cross-border cooperation on straits must be saved

The draft regulations published on 29 May confirm the misgivings of straits’ territories: maritime cross-border cooperation is the “poor relation” of the European Commission’s proposals. [Read more]

Technical meeting of the European Straits Initiative in Paris

Several European Straits Initiative members gathered in Paris on 29 May, in the offices of the Permanent Representation of the European Parliament. [Read more]

Dover Strait - A new study highlights the economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel in the UE

A new study published by EY analyses the value of trade travelling through the Channel Tunnel between the UK and EU countries. [Read more]

Position paper on post-2020 cross-border cooperation

After the proposals for the new Multiannual Financial Framework, the European straits express their strong concerns regarding the future of cross-border cooperation on maritime borders. [Read more]

view all news


Direction Europe et partenariats extérieurs
Conseil départemental du Pas-de-Calais
rue Ferdinand Buisson
62018 ARRAS Cedex 9



Keep in touch with ESI events and news!



Copyright Pas-de-Calais le Département - Legal Requirements - Credits