European Straits Initiative

What is the European Straits Initiative?

The European Straits Initiative (ESI) is a multilateral cooperation launched in 2009 by Pas-de-Calais County Council (France) and Kent County Council (United-Kingdom), the lead partners on the shores of Dover Strait. ESI now brings together 11 straits, representing 24 partners from Albania, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Sweden and the 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.

The objective of the European Straits Initiative is to connect local and regional public authorities around a shared geographical specificity. The two main aims of cooperation are:

  • Better acknowledge and have the specificities of European straits recognised in European, national and regional policies
  • Encourage exchange of experiences between partners facing similar issues, for example through European cooperation projects.


In November 2010, fifteen European local and regional authorities bordered by a strait signed the network's founding Memorandum of Understanding. On 22 October 2014, in Brussels, joined by new authorities, partners have confirmed their committment with the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (picture). In October 2015, a political conference in Vlora (Albania) enabled new partners to join the network.


Video of the launch of the European Straits Initiative, on 23 November 2010:


End of the mission in Lecce for 4 volunteers from Pas-de-Calais

After 6 months in Lecce in the framework of a voluntary service, 4 young people from Pas-de-Calais are ready to come back to France to share the results of their experience. [Read more]

European straits in action to save maritime cross-border cooperation programmes

Partners of the European Straits Initiative have defended their position to save maritime cross-border cooperation programmes after 2020. [Read more]

Straits contribute to the strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions

In the framework of PASSAGE project, straits’ territories have expressed their position to the European Commission [Read more]

Kvarken Council soon to become an EGTC

On 21 May 2018, the Kvarken Council annual general meeting has taken an historical decision: transforming the Council from a registered association to an EGTC. [Read more]

kvarkenradet Merenkurkun Neuvosto

10 years, already!

Ten years after their first meeting, partners of the European Straits Initiative are looking forward to renew their commitment. [Read more]

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]

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



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