The example of the greater region
Keywords:Cross-border territorial strategy, cross-border governance, the Greater Region, obstacles, cross-border cooperation
Cross-border strategies have been flourishing over the last few decades in Europe, mostly in a favourable context where European funding is available and legal instruments are well-developed. However, one may wonder which objectives are really targeted within this very broad and imprecise notion of cross-border strategy. The purpose of this paper is, first, to provide a theoretical framework in order to better understand the different meanings of the notion of cross-border integration and to provide a more critical perspective on its effects. Secondly, it analyses the policy content of the cross-border territorial strategy developed within the Greater Region before, in the final section, pointing out the difficulties faced by policy-makers during its elaboration. This final section is based on the insights brought both by the regional stakeholders interviewed and by our expertise as moderators and scientific advisors within the working group in charge of the realisation of the cross-border territorial strategy. The main finding of our analysis is that the consensus that has been reached by all the stakeholders is the “smallest common denominator”; that is to say, the least constraining.