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:


Promising start for PASSAGE project

Following approval of PASSAGE project, major work has already been engaged by project partners to enhance low-carbon development of maritime border regions. [Read more]

The Chamber of commerce of Maremma et Tirreno joins ESI

On 4 October 2016, the Chamber of commerce on the Italian shore of Corsica Channel formalised its will to join the European Straits Initiative. [Read more]

Strait of Kvarken - A region’s flagship project wins international award

The project Midway Alignment of the Bothnian Corridor has won the international "Sail of Papenburg" Award 2016. [Read more]

Strait of Messina - A book devoted to culture around the strait

Appearance of issue 8 of the Écritures review, first opus dedicated to the Strait of Messina in an editorial series devoted to culture around the straits within the European area. [Read more]

Strait of Kvarken - "Cross Border World Heritage" Menu

During the autumn of 2016, it was possible to experience unique tastes from the High Coast-Kvarken Archipelago UNESCO World Heritage Site onboard the ferry crossing the strait. [Read more]

Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region commits to ESI

Following exchanges engaged with the European Straits Initiative from 2015, Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region has officialised in October 2016 its entry in the ESI. [Read more]

ESI presented to French minister and elected representatives of the coastal areas

National study days of the ANEL (French association of elected representatives from coastal areas) took place on 5, 6 and 7 October 2016 in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, seaside resort of Pas-de-Calais. [Read more]

BIG up for European straits!

The BIG (Borders In Globalization) policy forum in Paris on 7 July was an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches developed in European straits. [Read more]

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PASSAGE project seminar in Helsinki

from 22 to 24 november 2016

European maritime day 2017

from 18 to 19 may 2017

view all events


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


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