The Basque Country and the Pyrenees Work Community will participate in the II Cross-Border Forum in Paris

2022 June 17
  • Marian Elorza and the young woman from Alava, Irune Santamaría, will take part in the debates on "migratory challenges" and "the role of youth in the construction of cross-border territories"
  • June 21 and 22, at the International University of Paris
  • Cross-border areas encompass 30% of the European population
  • Two million people are European cross-border workers

Paris, 2022 06 17

On June 21, the II Cross-Border Forum will begin in Paris with the slogan “Cross-border territories: fatalism or resilience? It will take place in the International University City. Its objectives focus on demonstrating the key role that cross-border areas play in uniting the peoples of Europe; convince European and state authorities to place cross-border territories at the centre of their public action and present France's proposal for cross-border territories.

Marian Elorza, General Secretary of Foreign Action of the Basque Government, and the young woman from Alava, Irune Santamaría Ruíz de Azua, representative of the Pyrenees Work Community, will participate in two debates on "migratory challenges" and "the role of youth in the construction of cross-border territories”.

The main organizer of the meeting is the Cross-Border Operational Mission (MOT) or association between cross-border territories and state and European institutions. The Forum supported by the French National Agency for Territorial Cohesion.

The European Commission published last summer a report that sets out its priorities for border regions “key tools for European integration”. It suggests that these territories “should be taken into account in the Union's cohesion policy 2021-2027”. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is one of the main promoters of territorial cooperation and of the 80 European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). The CoR supports the daily work of cross-border territories and networks in Europe.

Cross-border areas involve 30% of the European population. Two million European workers are cross-border. The organization of the conference estimates that “cross-border territories are absent from the recovery plans. However, they can be the leading territories for experimentation and innovation to meet the ambitions of the European Green Deal and embody the Europe of ecological transition.”


On Tuesday, June 21, at four in the afternoon, the conference debate will focus on the theme “Crisis in Europe: what territorial responses are offered to present and future migratory challenges?”  Moderated by Giuseppe Bettoni, professor at the University of Rome, the speakers will be Damien Carême, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE); Wiktor Szydarowski, Director of EGTC of Espon; María Ángeles Elorza, General Secretary of Foreign Action of the Basque Government; Béatrice Godefroy, Director of Europe CIVIC (Centre for Civilians in Conflict); Anne Laure Amilhat Szary, Director of UMR Pacte in Grenoble and Gabriela Staszkiewicz, Mayor of Cieszyn, Poland.

On Wednesday 22, at 2:30 pm, moderated by Tom Val, from Res Publica, three citizens representing civil society will intervene: Linus Bergauer, Volunteer in the Greater Region (FR-DE); the Basque young woman Irune Santamaria from the Pyrenees Work Community and Bektha Djilidjel, former Interreg Youth (FR-BE) volunteer. Along with them, three institutional representatives will participate: Chantal Jouanno, President of the French National Union-Commission for Public Debate; Sandra González Álvarez, mayor of Tomiño (Galicia) and Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul, member of the Secretariat of the Conference on the Future of Europe. The topic of debate will be “the role of civil society and youth in the construction of cross-border territories”.

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  • Irune Santamaría