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:


The Chamber of commerce of Bastia and Haute-Corse joins ESI!

The Chamber of commerce and industry of Bastia and Haute-Corse joined the European Straits Initiative partnership on 12 January 2017. [Read more]

PASSAGE project - Direction Helsinki for low-carbon transport solutions

On 22, 34 and 24 November 2016, PASSAGE project partners gathered in Helsinki to study low-carbon transport solutions in maritime border regions. [Read more]

Database on border regions highlights specific challenges of maritime borders

The study and database published by the European Commission enable to study the key features of European straits’ maritime borders. [Read more]

Dover Strait - New study highlights the economic footprint of the Channel tunnel

The study performed by Ernst & Young for Eurotunnel group proposes an analysis of the economic value of the traffic of passengers and goods through the Channel tunnel. [Read more]

Green light for the inclusion and international youth mobility project within ESI partner regions

On 26 October 2016, Mob’inclus project received a financial support of 51,216 € from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Read more]

Dover Strait – "Semaine de la solidarité internationale": travel around straits of the world

The "Week of international solidarity" takes place every year in France to raise public awareness on international solidarity and sustainable development. [Read more]

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 and 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]

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rue Ferdinand Buisson
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