European Straits Initiative (english version)

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.

Discover the European Straits Initiative in video:



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:


News from the Strait of Fehmarn Belt – creation of a fixed link between Denmark and Germany.

After many years of detailed preparation, the Fehmarn belt tunnel works will start in 2021. More precisely, the construction of the portal and ramp facilities will start in Rødbyhavn (Denmark). [Read more]

Straits Committee – Let’s get to work!

The launch of the Straits Committee brought together some 200 participants and permitted all the guests to meet, exchange on their expectations, common difficulties (...). [Read more]

Launching of the Straits Committee

On February 5th was held the launching conference of the Straits Committe in Arras (France) (...) for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Straits Committee. [Read more]

European Straits Initiative partners gathered in Boulogne-sur-Mer

The conference held in Boulogne-sur-Mer on 14 and 15 May 2019 was the opportunity to come back on 10 years of joint work as part of the European Straits Initiative. [Read more]

European straits' conference - Let's talk about gouvernance!

Three partners of the European Straits Initiative have shared the latest developments regarding the issue of governance in their strait. [Read more]

European straits' conference - Transport, a key issue

How to connect the two shores of a strait efficiently to allow an integrated development? This was the question of one of the conference's round table. [Read more]

European straits' conference - Looking at other opportunities: international mobility of young volunteers

Mob’Inclus project, developed between Pas-de-Calais County Council (France) and the Province of Lecce (Italy), capitalises on the existing partnership as part of the European Straits Initiative. [Read more]

European straits' conference - PASSAGE project, low-carbon transition in action

The last round table questioned the opportunity of low-carbon transition of straits’ areas, based on the results of the Interreg Europe PASSAGE project. [Read more]

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]

view all news


Direction des Affaires européennes
Conseil départemental du Pas-de-Calais
rue Ferdinand Buisson
62018 ARRAS Cedex 9



Keep in touch with ESI events and news!



Copyright Pas-de-Calais le Département - -