The application of a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC)
Article 175 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union provided the legal basis for the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 5 July 2006 on a European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC) (the EGTC Regulation), which entered into force on 1 August 2006 and has been fully applicable since 1 August 2007. It opened a new perspective in the domain of cooperation and enabled the creation of a new European instrument providing a legal structure for better cooperation between national, regional and local authorities and other public law bodies in different countries, especially in the context of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) Objective of Cohesion Policy.
EGTC, facilitating territorial cooperation
The EGTC instrument is intended to increase the cohesion of the Union by facilitating territorial cooperation and reducing its practical difficulties through a legal body that can increase legal certainty and stability for cooperation initiatives. The EGTC was developed to make territorial cooperation more strategic but – at the same time – more flexible and simple. An EGTC should reduce the difficulties encountered by Member States and, in particular, by regional and local authorities in implementing and managing cooperation activities in the context of differing national laws and procedures.
Role of the European Institutions and Advisory Bodies
- European Commission
The Commission has consistently underlined the importance of effective governance in ensuring territorial cohesion. Furthermore the Commission actively participated in conferences and discussions organised by the Presidencies of the Council, the Committee of the Regions, by EGTCs and other stakeholders. The Commission offers active support both directly, through conferences and networking events, through bilateral contact with some Member States and stakeholders, and via INTERACT, a programme for the exchange of experience in European Territorial Cooperation. Furthermore, EGTCs are now a regular topic of the Open Days held annually by the Commission and the Committee of the Regions.
- European Parliament
The European Parliament has taken a close interest in EGTCs. The own-initiative report "on Objective 3: a challenge for territorial cooperation – the future agenda for cross border, transnational and interregional cooperation" was adopted in 2011. On EGTC the report states "this instrument works satisfactorily" and "it has met the need expressed by regional and local authorities for structured cooperation covering financing, the legal status of projects and multi-level governance (…)." Moreover, specific sectoral reports, for example on sport and healthcare, encourage the promotion and use of the EGTC for cross-border, transnational, and inter-regional cooperation.
- Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions is identified by the Treaty as a principal partner of the
Commission, in particular in issues concerning cross-border cooperation. The Committee adopted opinions on the EGTC in 2008 and 2011, whereby it confirmed its commitment to support EGTC but called for legal changes to ease its setting up and functioning. In addition, it considers that "...the EGTCs also provide useful prospects as 'laboratories' for multi-level governance".
To create a visible and permanent structure of cross-border or territorial cooperation
The motivation to establish an EGTC is often the will to create
a visible and permanent structure of cross-border or territorial
cooperation, to design joint growth strategies, to generate
economies of scale, and to manage joint projects, infrastructure or
environmental resources. Reports from Member States, regional and
local authorities and EGTCs show that the decision to set up an
EGTC often depends on the previous history of cooperation between
the partners. Partners underlined that the EGTCs were established
in order better to face the challenge of cooperation: reaching an
agreement on the role and tasks of the EGTC is an important part of
the process. Some of the existing EGTCs are planning to increase
the number of their members, so the creation of an EGTC may not be
a single event, but a step on a continuous process.
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EC Report in EGTC
20 Oct 2011, pdf, 56KB