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BIG up for European straits!

Published the 13 July 2016

“Borders In Globalization” was the main topic of the policy forum organized by the French Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière and the University of Grenoble-Alpes on 7 July 2016 in Paris. A particular focus was made on security and development issues, around a key question: how to deal with a border? Mr Jean-Louis Cottigny, Vice-president for European and international affairs of Pas-de-Calais County Council, seized the opportunity to demonstrate the richness of the approaches developed by local authorities to face the specific issues of European straits.

BIG (Borders In Globalization) is a Canadian research project launched in 2013 with the purpose of creating new policy and knowledge transfer between academics and policy makers about borders and borderlands in regions around the world. The policy forum of 7 July was gathering academics, representatives from French State and European commission, local authorities and civil society representatives.

The key question of balance between security of borders and development of border regions has been at the heart of the debate. Among other topics, migrant crisis and terrorism have been identified as the main pressure explaining the growing will of securing borders of Europe.

Mr Jean-Louis Cottigny, Vice-president of Pas-de-Calais County Council had been asked to participate to the round table « Innovate in the management of borders and border territories ». This was a great opportunity to share the experience of Pas-de-Calais County Council in the framework of the European Straits Initiative and tell the story of this cooperation launched in 2010 by Pas-de-Calais County Council and its English counterpart, Kent County Council. Among others, the presentation highlighted the innovative aspects of the INTERREG IV C NOSTRA project, with the double challenge of cross-border and interregional work and a focus on governance issues. Most of all, it was the opportunity to remind the audience with the specificities of straits and, globally, maritime borders, which remain today key areas for cooperation in Europe.

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