EU Cohesion policy: Commission publishes a new survey on cross border cooperation and a declaration from young people on the future of the European territorial cooperation

Today, the European Commission has published a declaration drafted by young people to contribute to improve the European territorial cooperation (Interreg) and a survey on the European citizens’ awareness and concerns about cooperation in the border territories of the European Union, where one third of Europeans live. This year marks 30 years of Interreg. The declaration, presented today during a youth debate at the Interreg Annual Event, provides suggestions to policy-makers about how to better use Interreg funding to meet young people’s needs and expectations. It contains 12 recommendations and covers fives areas of concern, ranging from education and employment to climate change and access to EU funds. Among others, young people wish to be more involved in relevant EU-wide groups and networks, increase the knowledge of Interreg in schools and universities, have an easier access to the calls that have a dedicated budget for youth, and want to actively participate to the monitoring committee. The survey published today shows that cross-border mobility has improved by 3 percentage points since 2015, reaching 56% of citizens living in EU border regions. Moreover, 38% European citizens consider living in a border region an opportunity. The most mentioned reasons for crossing borders are leisure activities such as tourism (58%), followed by shopping for goods or services (34%). Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I warmly encourage all Interreg decision-makers to carefully read the Declaration and incorporate its recommendations in their daily efforts to improve the quality of life of citizens living in border areas. Young people deserve to influence political decisions that affect them. The survey we publish today also shows that more and more citizens live their lives across borders. This confirms that we must continue to support EU border areas with Interreg funds to improve the opportunities to grow together.”