Partner Regions Agreed to Constitute Via Carpatia

The highest representatives of the partner regions – Mr Zdenko Trebuľa, the Governor of the Košice Region, and Mr Roland Mengyi, the Governor of the Hungarian Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County, signed the Convention on Establishment and the Statutes of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) Via Carpatia with Limited Liability in Košice on Wednesday 9 January.

The Košice Region and the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County are the founding members and members of the EGTC Via Carpatia. The Grouping acquires its legal entity upon its registration at the Registration Office. Its Registered Office will be in Košice. Establishment of the grouping is based on the effective European legislation and it was the natural outcome of cooperation between the two regions connected by their common historical, cultural and linguistic traditions, with over 1,5 million inhabitants living on their territories with area 14 thousand sq. km. The EGTC was established to facilitate and support the cross-border, transnational and regional cooperation. Its goal is to enhance economic and social coherence, especially through the realization of projects and programs of cross-border cooperation. The key interests will include advisory-consulting activity in the field of regional development, preparation of common development strategies in employment and social welfare, agricultural production support (establishing distribution centres for agricultural commodities, tourism (congress tourism, creation of a comprehensive range of products for individual micro-regions, common marketing activities, info-roads for tour operators), presentation and preservation of cultural heritage, drafting and implementation of joint projects for development strategies, initiatives leading to the acquisition of the management of the EU-funded cross-border cooperation program for the realization of joint projects and development strategies.

Other goals include integration in health care, passenger and road transport, municipal waste, in flood and environmental protection, construction of cycle routes, in the Tokaj vineyard area, in energy supply, crisis management, investment stimulation and creation of cross-border logistical and industrial zones.

Via Carpatia plans to adopt a common approach to redirection of international flows of goods, especially initiatives leading to the revival of intermodal transport in the east-west direction and initiatives leading to recording of the Baltic Corridor (Via Carpatia) along the Schengen border into the TEN-T European Network.

The EGTC is established for an indefinite time period. It will be financed from the membership contributions and from programs and projects co-financed by the European Community. The EGTC revenues can also consist of subsidies from other public sources and gifts from physical and legal entities, inheritance, revenues from its own activities and business activities.

The European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) and its goals

Regulation EC 1082/2006 of the European Parliament on a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) was adopted in July 2006. The proposal to establish EGTC emerged from political necessity to create a legal form that would enable cooperation between public and private authorities from different member states, especially in use of public expenditures for cross-border projects.

Upon adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon, the “territorial cohesion“ and “socio-economic cohesion“ became two of the main EU objectives and the EGTC tool itself was created explicitly for the purpose of „territorial cooperation“. The 2007–2013 Structural Funds programming period has been working effectively, which proves an increasing tendency of the regional approach in the EU in planning and implementation of the program presenting new opportunities for EGTC. Regulation No. 1082/2006 on EGTC is going to be revised in order to extend the cooperation areas and EGTC powers (e.g., participation of the private companies in the EGTC, cooperation with private entities, charging fees for infrastructure, etc.) and it is going to propose simplification of conditions for registration of EGTC.

In early 2011 almost all EU member states adopted legal provisions on the EGTC. The Regulation was adopted into Slovak legislation by the Act No. 90/2008 Coll. on the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation. There are only 3 countries with federal structure that have not passed some parts of the legislation yet. The EU map shows that there are about 40 established and prepared EGTCs, while the existing ones associate over 350 local and regional authorities representing 20 million Europeans.

EGTC is a legal tool enabling cross–border and regional cooperation. It represents an important step towards adoption of regional and local authorities’ right to cross-border cooperation. EGTC is the first body that enables grouping of authorities from various member countries, without the necessity to have previously signed an international Treaty ratified by their national Parliaments. Based on the legal entity of the parties involved, it gives them a coherent framework for cooperation as well as ample opportunity, flexibility and application in diverse areas of the EU policies. EGTC aims at strengthening social, economic and territorial cohesion. EGTC is a legal entity and it has a legal capacity.