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 at the heart of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017

In the framework of PASSAGE project, a workshop on cross-border cooperation on maritime borders is organised on 10 October 2017 in Brussels. [Read more]

"Bron" and "The Tunnel": European straits on TV

The Øresund and Dover Strait are the decor of two European cross-border TV series in the last years. [Read more]

Dover Strait – Unaccompanied minors at the heart of a day of exchanges

On 12 May 2017, a delegation from Pas-de-Calais County Council and France Terre d’Asile NGO visited Kent County Council in Ashford. [Read more]

Straits highlighted at the occasion of a study day at the University East-Paris Créteil

Saturday 10 June, Stéphane Resche, associate professor at the University East-Paris Créteil, presented the study "Dramaturgy of straits: write and play the mandatory route". [Read more]

PASSAGE project – discover best practices from 6 European straits!

Three thematic seminars took place from November 2016 to May 2017, enabling project partners to highlight 9 exemplary practices. [Read more]

Corsica Channel/Strait of Bonifacio - A cross-border project for blue and green growth

The project "Accélérateur Transfrontalier de Start Ups - MARITTIMOTECH" is financed by the cross-border cooperation programme INTERREG VA Italy-France Maritime. [Read more]

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