The Euregio is a German - Dutch Local Government Association, which includes 130 cities, towns and counties from the Munsterland, the southwestern Lower Saxony and the eastern Netherlands. It was founded in 1958 as the first European region and promotes cross-border cooperation between citizens, businesses and organizations. In the Euregio around 3.4 million people within an area of 13,000 km ². About two- thirds of the inhabitants and the area are located in Germany and third in the Netherlands. The location of the office is in Gronau.
In 1958 cities, municipalities and provinces to work for the organized cross- border cooperation between Germany and the Netherlands in the Euregio area. The Euregio initially consisted of various interest groups. On the German side, founded in 1954 representatives of local authorities and business community of interests Rhine -Ems (later local community Weser- Ems). In the Netherlands in 1960 was the " Belanggemeenschap Twente Gelderland " (today Regio Twente). A year later, in 1961, the " Samenwerkingsverband Oost- Gelderland " (now Regio Achterhoek ) built. The three organizations worked together informally at the beginning to strengthen, among others, the local economy and infrastructure and to resolve cross-border commuting problems. Since the mid-60s of MPs instances met regularly in the Euregio workgroup. Together they worked on a transition from project-based contacts to a programmatic collaboration.
1971 won the socio-cultural exchange within the Euregio important. A working group, later named after its first chairman Alfred Mozer, encouraged meetings between Germans and Dutch in the border area. With the Euregio Council, the collaboration was institutionalized in 1978. Prince Claus had encouraged the foundation in 1974. At a meeting of the Stichting Streek respects Oost- Gelderland he said:
" Try to form a Euregio Council who knows how to take the interests of this cross-border region, but also the willingness to joint efforts in their own circle into words. "
The Council was the first regional cross -border Parliament in Europe and then on the highest organ of the Euregio.
In 1985, the existing on both sides of the border secretariats were merged. Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus opened the joint office at the border crossing Gronau / Glanerbrug. Two years later, in 1987, the first cross-border action program was presented. It contained strategies for the next 20 years in the economic, technological, infrastructural and socio- cultural field. In addition to national financiers and the European Community participated in the financing. There are working groups for the topics of business, technology, social, school and education, tourism, culture, agriculture, environment, transport and everyday border problems / rescue established to implement the strategy.
When the European Union in the early 90s the INTERREG Community Initiative was launched, the program of the Euregio one of the first was approved. With funding from the European Regional Development Fund and by national and regional funders since it promotes cross-border projects in various fields. Since 2007, the current INTERREG IV A Programme is being implemented.
Tasks and areas of work
- Promotion and improvement of cooperation in the cultural field
- Economic development in the border area
- Municipal cooperation
- Mutual understanding across borders
- Cross-border mobility
The Euregio aims to break down barriers that arise from the boundary, such that a common supply space is created. In the economic field it wants to strengthen the competitiveness of the region. It supports small and medium enterprises and encourages collaborations with companies and scientific institutions in the neighboring country to. How can firms enter new markets and improve their market position. Projects will be carried out for example in the field of mechatronics, telemedicine, the chip technology and machine and plant construction.
In order to develop the region better, the Euregio strives for expansion of the infrastructure. In the area of road construction, the East-West Highway A 30 has been completed and created via the A 31 is a direct connection to the Ruhr. In rail transport, the disused track between Gronau and Enschede was reactivated and built a link between Oldenzaal and Bad Bentheim. An important economic factor in the Euregio area is tourism, because in addition to the larger cities like Münster, Osnabrück, Enschede and Hengelo also attracts the rural areas many visitors. Joint marketing strategies and structural cooperation of the tourism regional organizations with small and medium-sized enterprises to promote cross- border tourism.
In socio- cultural level, promotes the Euregio contacts between German and Dutch citizens, in order to teach them the culture and lifestyle of the neighboring country. For example, it stimulates the exchange between communities and organized events for schools and clubs. To the social-cultural exchange takes care of the Euregio Mozer Commission, which is financially supported by the states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine -Westphalia, as well as the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland. The Citizens Advice Bureau offers individual talks and information sessions to cross-border commuters questions.
In addition, the Euregio understood as a platform for community collaboration. It encourages the exchange between cities and communities in areas such as health and demographic change, so that can be learned from the neighbors and the systems are coordinated. As a voice of its members, the Euregio represents the interests of the border area at regional, national and European level.
The Euregio is constructed as a registered association (eV ) under German law. All 130 member communities are represented in the General Assembly. It consists of 194 voting members and decides on amendments to the statutes, the admission of new members and the membership fees.
The Euregio works on the bottom-up principle. This means that in the first step, experts will discuss and evaluate a project idea in the working groups (tourism, health, economy, etc.). You will develop recommendations for decision for the Euregio Board.
The Board consists of 12 voting members, ten elected by the Euregio Council members, the President of the Euregio Council and the Euregio CEO. Based on the recommendations of the working groups of the Euregio Executive Committee prepares the resolutions of the Council. He is also responsible for implementing the decisions of the General Assembly.
The Euregio Council is composed of 41 German and 41 Dutch -voting members. Chairman of the Euregio Council 's (CDU ), a member of the city council of Bad Bentheim since 2010 Günter Alsmeier. Peculiarity of this highest organ of the Euregio is that MPs form cross-border fractions. As a consulting and coordinating body, the Council discussed basic issues of cross- border cooperation and lay down guidelines. In addition, it is his duty to approve the budget and decide on small projects under the INTERREG program with a budget of up to 50,000 euros. For regional INTERREG projects with a budget from 50,000 euros he developed recommendations for decision for the INTERREG Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee decided representatives of the Ministries of Economic Affairs, the district governments of the provinces and the Euregio on the approval of project requests. In the office in Gronau around 45 German and Dutch employees are busy performing the duties of the Euregio. The management of the office is Dr. Elisabeth Schwenzow and her deputy January Oostenbrink.
The Euregio is a member of the Association of European Border Regions.
130 municipalities ( rural) districts and cities are members of the Euregio. You are in the following geographical area:
- Lower Saxony: County County of Bentheim
- District of Osnabrück
- City of Osnabrück
- Parts of southern Emsland ( Emsbueren, Spellenberg, salt mountains )
- North Rhine -Westphalia: Kreis Borken
- Kreis Steinfurt
- Warendorf district
- City of Münster
- Gelderland province: Regio Achterhoek
- Overijssel: Regio Twente
- Parts Noordoost - Overijssels ( Dalfsen, Hardenberg, Ommen )
- Drenthe: the municipality of Coevorden
Selected current projects
Within the framework of the INTERREG IV A Programme economy, technology, innovation, sustainable regional development and integration, and society will be supported in the Euregio projects in the three areas. These are some examples of projects:
- The project Mechatronics for SME support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the German - Dutch border area in the development of new products or the optimization of production processes. The promotion can be up to 80,000 euros.
- The network GMA helps small and medium-sized companies from the mechanical and plant engineering to strengthen their market position. For assistance, marketing, training, technology and process innovation.
- The Citizens Advice the residents receive in the Euregio area information on working, studying and living in the neighboring country. In addition to individual consultations, tax and pensions office hours are held in cooperation with tax authorities and pension providers. Consultations take place regularly in the office in Gronau and various locations in the Euregio.
- GrensWerte is an arts and culture project. From 2012 to 2014 under changing annual themes various art projects carried out in order to promote regional culture and to make the inhabitants visible. This is how network structures between cultural institutions and artists.