Cross-border functions & macro regions

An important part of ESPON evidence is the fact that a pan-European dimension is preferred. That means that ESPON evidence not only covers a certain administrative boundary, but expands also across borders. Two central areas which follow this logic are the macro regions and cross-border areas. 

Macro regions cover an area which is part of multiple European countries. Two examples, which are currently analysed more in detail by ESPON, are the Alpine area as well as the Baltic Sea RegionThe Alpine area, for example, is composed of territories with different demographic, social and economic trends and a rich cultural, linguistic and biological diversity. This diversity goes along with a variety of governance systems and traditions. The region has a strong identity, cultural heritage and a longstanding tradition in cooperation. This unique territory has important potentials for dynamic development, but is facing major challenges at various levels including the pan-Alpine, regional and local levels as well as in cross-border areas, where cross-border public services play an important role. These challenges refer for instance to the specific geographical position, globalisation, demographic trends, climate change and its impact on the environment, biodiversity, territorial pattern of activities and living conditions. The major challenge for the Alpine area is to balance economic development and environmental protection through common innovative approaches which go beyond administrative borders and strengthen the area as a living space for people and as a natural habitat, as well as a field for sustainable economic and social activities in a sustainable way. In a unique, fragile and yet dynamic area of cooperation such as the Alpine area, a common approach to spatial development is particularly important. A vision and common spatial perspectives would facilitate and improve harmonized cross-border territorial development. Therefore a specific Territorial Impact Assessment (TIA) Tool  or the European Macro regional monitring tool might be used, which feature functions for cross border cooperation.

The Cross-border Public Services targeted analysis, on the other side, aims at improving the delivery practices of cross-border public services in different types of EU border-regions with different cross-border cooperation traditions. This project will contribute to explore functional geographies and to extend the use of European territorial evidence at cross-border areas level. Moreover, some other projects do cover cross-border topics especially in their case studies like the LinkPAs project or the green infrastructure and SME project.