Public consultation: TAP Living, working and travelling across borders

Cross-border areas represent 40 % of the EU territory, host 37.5% of the its population and produce over 30% of the EU’s GDP. Cross-border regions are places of innovation, extensive cooperation and constant interactions at local level, while acting as gateways for the national networks; these places reflect, almost to the same extent, both the national character and regional or local specificity.

The TAP “Living, working and travelling across borders” aims to develop the knowledge and evidence base about the territorial patterns of upward socio-economic convergence in cross-border regions. The TAP will support the efforts of all stakeholders in enhancing cross-border cooperation as well as identifying the instruments for alleviating the specific obstacles that cross-border regions face. For this purpose, this TAP aims to build/enhance the evidence collected on cross-border interaction and cooperation, bringing a more comprehensive and integrated overview, to inform decision-making.

Through observations for the entire ESPON Programme area, this TAP intends to collect best practice,  instil innovative ideas, and encourage new pathways for cross-border territories to cope with emerging challenges (like the health, migration or environmental crises). It will be looking for integrated territorial approaches promoting cohesive cross-border regions, and the development of functional living areas on land and maritime borders of the Union with EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and IPA countries (Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina) , including the outermost regions. Additionally, the TAP will address the integrated territorial development of the four EU macro-regions: the Baltic Sea Region, the Danube region, the Adriatic/Ionian Region and the Alpine Region.

Among others, this TAP:

  • includes studies aimed at deepening the knowledge on different obstacles that border areas face (ranging from hard to soft): geographic / physical obstacles, socioeconomic, administrative, institutional and governance; cultural and language, accessing and provision of public services, managing and accessing common natural and environmental resources, etc.;
  • addresses the territorial needs for evidence production specific to cross-border regions, and analysing the spatial processes or territorial patterns that emerge, from a lower level (LAU I or LAU II levels), and in a more detailed and more dynamic format;
  • informs European, national, regional or local stakeholders; promotes co-action with EU enlargement countries to see the aligned policy approaches;
  • promotes networking and involvement of local communities in actions in relation to enhancing cross-border cooperation and future integration;
  • strengthens the capacities and skills of policy makers, on all levels of governance and across policy sectors, reinforcing policy action towards socio-economic convergence, joint services and cooperation ties towards stronger cross-border functional areas;
  • supports the capacity development of different territorial actors in planning, managing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating to ensure that cross-border territories’ adaptive capacities can be fully utilised;

contributes to understanding possible territorial consequences, opportunities and challenges of territorially diverse European cross-border regions following various pathways in implementing the twin digital and environmental objectives, by applying the measures that support a just and fair transition.


Read more about the Thematic Action Plan (TAP) on ‘Living, working and travelling across borders’ in the document that is attached below. 

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