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 10 straits, representing 22 partners from Albania, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, 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 European cooperation projects

Under the second objective, 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:

Video of the launch of the initiative:


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]

Fehmarn Belt cross-border cooperation highlighted at global research conference “Border Regions in Transition”

The 15th conference on Border Regions in Transition (BRIT) took place from 17 to 20 May 2016 in Hamburg (Germany) and Sönderborg (Denmark). A good opportunity to present the Fehmarnbelt Committee! [Read more]

Strait of Sicily - A European Maritime Day coloured with blue technologies

The National Institute for Sciences and Technologies of the Sea (INSTM) organized on 31 May 2016 the first European Maritime Day event on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean sea. [Read more]

Kvarken - The international KvarkenMoS Conference highlights importance of the Kvarken Transport Route

The KvarkenMoS conference on 20-22 April visibly highlighted the Kvarken shipping route between Vaasa and Umeå, connecting much more than just the two neighbouring cities. [Read more]

Strait of Messina celebrates the European Maritime Day

The University of Reggio Calabria held a Roundtable on "the Area of the Strait of Messina and development potential from integrated planning of coastal zones" as part of the European Maritime Day. [Read more]

Gulf of Finland - Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel feasibility study got EU funding

Implementation opportunities of the Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel will be studied by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and Harju County Government, with the help of EU funding. [Read more]

Start signal for PASSAGE project

The 11 partners of the project gathered in Boulogne-sur-Mer on 12 May 2016 for the launching conference, at the invitation of Pas-de-Calais County Council. [Read more]

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Festival - Tales of the Sea

from 1 to 4 september 2016

Fehmarnbelt Days 2016

from 20 to 22 september 2016

PASSAGE project seminar in the Fehmarnbelt

from 6 to 8 september 2016

PASSAGE project seminar in Helsinki

from 22 to 24 november 2016

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


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