Many EU internal border regions are under-developed and face socio-economic disparities. The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit to assess whether the specific programmes financed under EU cohesion policy have tackled cross-border challenges effectively.
EU internal border regions cover 40 % of the EU’s territory and are home to 30 % of its population. They are frequently underdeveloped, because existing administrative, logistic, legal and cultural barriers can limit their growth. According to a European Commission study, removing just 20 % of the impediments to cross-border cooperation would add 2 % to the regions’ GDP and create up to 1 million jobs. EU cohesion policy aims to reduce obstacles and disparities through European Territorial Cooperation programmes, with a budget that amounted to over €10 billion for the 2014-2020 programming period.
“Reducing cross-border barriers would be beneficial to many EU territories and citizens”, said Ladislav Balko, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit. “We want to see whether the Commission and Member States have effectively addressed the physical and legal/administrative obstacles cross-border regions come across, fostering socio-economic growth and territorial integration”.