Written by Christiaan van Lierop (2nd edition, updated on 25.01.2019),

Czech border sign by the road - travel background
© Nikolai Sorokin / Fotolia

Often isolated, and with generally poorer access to public services, the EU’s border regions face a unique set of challenges. This has been recognised under Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which provides that particular attention should be paid to cross-border regions when developing action to strengthen the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion. Yet while the EU has provided significant support over the years, particularly within the framework of European territorial cooperation, helping to strengthen connectivity and create new growth and jobs, numerous obstacles continue to hamper cross-border cooperation.

Organised to identify these remaining bottlenecks, the Commission’s 2015 cross-border review revealed legal and administrative barriers to be the main obstacle to cross-border cooperation while, in parallel, the 2015 Luxembourg Presidency put forward plans for an EU cross-border mechanism, with an informal working group set up to develop the idea. Both processes have fed into discussions in recent years to create a mechanism for cross-border areas, leading to the current proposal, introduced as part of the multiannual financial framework’s cohesion policy package.


Proposal for a regulation on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context
Committee responsible:Regional Development (REGI)COM(2018) 373 of 29.5.2018
Rapporteur:Matthijs van Miltenburg (ALDE, the Netherlands)procedure ref.: 2018/198 (COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Joachim Zeller (EPP, Germany)

Monika Smolková (S&D, Slovakia)

Mirosław Piotrowski (ECR, Poland)

Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL, Greece)

Bronis Ropė (Greens/EFA, Lithuania)

Rosa D’Amato (EFDD, Italy)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected:Trilogue negotiations


EU Legislation in progress timeline