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

If there is one crosscutting issue that is at the heart of all the exchanges as part of the European Straits Initative, it is probably the issue of governance. At the occasion of the conference on 14 and 15 May, three partners have shared the latest developments regarding this issue in their strait.

Mr Mathias Lindström, director of the Kvarken Council (Finland/Sweden), explained the current transformation of this existing cross-border council into an EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation) of European law, to provide stability for actionand a real commitment of stakeholders involved, also in times that are more difficult. He also highlighted the importance of involving inhabitants in the process. The man on the street must feel that there is something in it for him as well, he said.

Mr Kaarel Kose, policy advisor at the Union of Harju County Municipalities (Estonia), highlighted the need to build on a territorial reality. The largest number of commuters in Helsinki is from Tallinn (…) so actually we have a twin-city there, he said. Cooperation between administrations on both sides of the strait comes from this necessity of dealing with concrete issues for the inhabitants, commuters and companies who live on both shores.

Finally, Ms Mireille Hingrez-Cereda, Vice President of Pas-de-Calais County Council (France), came back on the process of creation of a “Dover Strait Committee” inspired from the existing Fehmarnbelt Committee between Denmark and Germany, thanks to the exchanges that took place within the European Straits Initiative. Brexit leads us to reconsider our cooperation, (...) it is the opportunity to give a new breath to our exchanges, she said. She insisted on the will to involve other types of stakeholders, not only public administrations: companies, universities, civil society representatives such as NGOs must be involved, she explained. A consideration that is clearly shared by her counterparts in the Gulf of Finland and Strait of Kvarken.



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