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European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation

Overall context

European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (hereinafter referred to as "EGTC") is a legal instrument to facilitate cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation. This form allows Member States, regional and local authorities and public entities to create groupings of territorial cooperation with legal personality. Member States must give its consent to the participation of members from their territory. The EGTC shall have legal personality and may act on behalf of its members. The purpose of the EGTC is to facilitate and, especially, promote cross-border cooperation among its members for the sole purpose of strengthening economic and social cohesion.

The Czech Republic has included in its legislature the legal framework in the Act on Regional Development Support, and the Amendment (under No. 154/2009 Coll.) Act No. 248/2000 Coll., on Regional Development, as amended.

The Act, as amended, modifies the terms for functioning of the EGTC in the Czech Republic and entrusts the Ministry of Regional Development with the registration of the EGTC in the Czech Republic and approval of the Czech member participation in such grouping. The Ministry assesses such requests in administrative proceedings and if the content of applications is consistent with the law, it registers such a grouping or gives the approval to its participation in the EGTC in another EU Member State. In the Czech Republic, there has not been any EGTC registered yet; there has been given one approval (for EGTC located in Poland) with the participation of a member (Moravian-Silesian Region),but even after months this EGTC has not been registered in Poland yet.

Nowadays, there are several existing EGTCs in the European Union and about 20 more EGTCs are currently in preparation.

You may find the list of existing EGTCs HERE

General characteristics of the proposal

On 6 October 2011, the European Commission presented a package of legislative proposals, which also included the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of 5 July 2006 on the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC).

This proposal is actually the second step of the Commission in the performance of duties pursuant to the Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006, the report submitted by the Commission on 29 July 2011. The proposal includes specific changes that should lead to such improvements.

The main objectives of the proposed amendment are to maintain continuity, greater clarity and greater flexibility:

  • If the basic nature of the EGTC is maintained, no existing EGTC will be forced to change its articles or functiong and the continuity will be maintained.
  • Clarity of the regulation is not only to ensure the taking into account the Lisbon Treaty, but also to ensure the simplicity and clarity of some aspects that appear to be ambiguous. Simultaneously better and clearer awareness of the establishment and functioning of the EGTC are to be ensured.
  • Flexibility is to guarantee that the EGTC will be extended to all aspects of territorial cooperation and creation of a legal basis which will enable the authorities and regions of third countries their membership in the EGTC.

Regulation summary

Changes, which the amending regulation brings, relate to the unification of terminology introduced by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and also respond to deficiencies and areas suitable for potential improvement, which determines the above message.

These changes relate to the membership, convention content and articles of the EGTC, its purpose, the approval process by the national authorities, applicable laws relating to employment and public procurement, attitude of EGTC whose members have different responsibilities for their actions, and transparent procedures for communication.

In the case of membership, new legal bases are applied that also allow regions and entities from non-member countries to become members of the EGTC, regardless the other members come from one or more Member States. The eligibility for membership in case of entities, which is governed by private law, is also clarified.

The EGTC Convention and Articles are being redefined and the emphasis is put on the difference in the process for the approval. The EGTC Regulation distinguishes between the Convention, which provides basic elements of the future EGTC, and the Articles, which set out the elements of implementation. The Articles still had to contain all the provisions of the Convention. The proposal now specifies that the Convention and the Articles are two separate documents, and although both must be sent to Member States, the approval should be limited only to the Convention.

Criteria for approval or refusal by national authorities are being specified and the limited period for assessment has been proposed. The deadline is to be extended from the current 3 months to 6, but if the administrative authority does not respond within the deadline, the articles (or rather the participation of the member) shall be deemed approved (so-called silent procedure).

The solutions are designed in compliance with the acquis of the Union for tax schemes and social security schemes applicable to employees of the EGTC, who may be employed in any of the Member States whose territory the EGTC belongs to. A similar approach is also proposed in case of the rules on public procurement.

In the case of liability, where some local or regional authorities must, according to the national law, have limited liability and other Member States, on the contrary, have unlimited liability, it is proposed to come up with the solution in the area of insurance, which was used for the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

Member States will also have to inform the Commission of any rules adopted for implementation of the Regulation on the EGTC and each newly established EGTC should, for the purpose of publication in the Official Journal, inform the Commission of its purpose and members.

Next steps

This proposal will be further discussed during the year by the Council and European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions will authorize its approval to it. That means it is the initial proposal, which can undergo very significant changes like in the past.

It is already clear from the draft framework of the Czech Republic to this amendment, that they will discuss issues such as adequacy of contributions to the common budget or unwillingness to support EGTC established exclusively for the management of future programs of cooperation.

Czech legislation - To download Act No. 154/2009, click HERE
Polish legislation - To download Polish legislation „ustawa o egtc“, click HERE
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