Important: to access the documents presented during the study visit (6-8 June 2018) please scroll to the bottom of this page.
A history of cooperation between Aragon - Aquitaine & Midi Pyrénées
Cross-border cooperation has been the subject of community support since the 1990s and responds to objectives shared by neighbouring regions which seek to solve common problems so that the existing borders between them not only cease to be obstacles to mobility and collaboration, but become permeable places for sharing experience and knowledge, and for establishing actions to strengthen links and implement complementary activities in the most essential fields.
The Pyrenean cross-border area between Spain and France represents a geographical area of almost 50,000 km2, 7 regions, more than 1,100,000 inhabitants, 617,000 households, 45,000 jobs in agriculture, 108,000 in industry, 40,000 in construction, 205,000 in the tertiary sector, and more than 5.8 million tourists per year. In the specific case of the Aragon region, cross-border cooperation with France was formalised in 2001 through the signing of the Aquitaine-Aragon and Midi-Pyrénées-Aragon cross-border cooperation agreements. The aim of this framework for collaboration is to strengthen the relations traditionally established and to overcome the difficulties posed by physical communication barriers in the central Pyrenees, the lack of access to public services (communications, health, energy, rural development, tourism, water, etc.) or the difficulties caused by administrative, management and language differences, among others, which lead to a situation of disadvantage for their populations.
In spite of these challenges, the momentum and motivation of citizens, entities and administration has produced a relevant impact in the territory through cooperation projects that have generated concrete results on different fronts. These include the improvement of communication routes (railways, tunnels); the recovery of the natural and cultural heritage and the joint implementation of rural development or tourism projects; the joint marketing of agri-food products; the creation of cross-border networks of companies and R&D&I centres; the formation of joint teams for risk prevention and medical care in mountain areas; training exchanges and recognition of professional qualifications or university degrees; research work on climate change adaptation in the Pyrenees; promoting entrepreneurship and the creation of cross-border businesses; improvements in food security; or joint use of computer resources on both sides of the border.
When talking about cross-border cooperation with France, it is important to mention the European Union's regional policy and, within it, to its Objective 3, which is developed through interregional, transnational and cross-border cooperation. The region of Aragon participates in all these levels of cooperation and, within the specific framework of cross-border cooperation, through the Spain-France-Andorra Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme (POCTEFA), co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund ERDF, and managed by the Comunidad de Trabajo de los Pirineos (CTP) of which the Government of Aragon is a member, together with the other regions that form part of the programme (Catalonia, Basque Country, Navarre and La Rioja on the Spanish side, and Nouvelle Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées - Languedoc-Roussillon on the French side), as well as Andorra, which participates but does not receive ERDF funds.
This programme, which every year adapts and evaluates the priority themes for collaboration between the two sides of the border, aims to seek a positive impact on specific sectors related to the main problems of the population, such as investment in knowledge and innovation, improving employability, improving energy management and communication networks, the environment and tourism.
In the period 2007-2013, the POCTEFA cross-border cooperation programme financed a total of 50 projects involving partners from Aragon. In the current period 2014-2020 and to date, there are 57 cooperation projects in which different Aragonese partners participate with other French partners, as well as other Spanish agents from the aforementioned regions.
Among these projects, Campus Iberus participates in EBRoS2020, which aims to improve the raising of European competitive funds to promote innovation in the industrial fabric and economic and social development of the area, as well as in the aCCeSS project, which aims to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology from universities to SMEs in the cross-border territory to improve their innovation potential.
Short presentation of Campus Iberus
Institutional video of the Iberus Campus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoXb5oACCMY
The Iberus Campus Consortium is the strategic aggregation set up in 2010 by the universities of Zaragoza (Aragon), Navarra (Navarra), La Rioja (La Rioja) and Lleida (Catalonia) within the framework of the Campus of International Excellence Programme. Campus Iberus is built on the principles of aggregation, specialization and internationalization, is thematically oriented towards the areas of Agrifood and Nutrition, Sustainable Energy and Environment, Health Technologies, and Social and Territorial Development, and develops joint actions of aggregation and specialization in the areas of Higher Education and Training, Students, R&D&I and International Cooperation. Campus Iberus also promotes the internationalization of these joint actions as an added value, both for the institutions that comprise it and for their regions, as well as the execution of actions that allow for the sharing of resources, the addition of capacities and the confrontation of new challenges in education, research and innovation in a regional and international context.
Within this framework, the internationalisation strategy of Campus Iberus is implemented at three levels of cooperation:
- Cross-border Spain-France: through the EBRoS Western Pyrenees Cross-Border Campus, which includes the Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour and the Université de Toulouse, located in the neighbouring cross-border regions of Aquitaine (now Nouvelle Aquitaine) and Midi-Pyrénées (now Midi-Pyrénées-Languedoc-Roussillon)
- Europe: through the permanent delegation of the Campus in Brussels;
- International: mainly in Latin America, through the permanent delegation of the Campus in Bogotá (Colombia).
- The activity of the Iberus Campus in Latin America began in Colombia in 2015, through the implementation of joint actions in: Education and Training; Training and Technical Assistance in the areas of specialization of the Campus; Establishment of institutional agreements for the exchange of researchers, technical personnel and students; Joint training/research and dual degree programs; Transfer of knowledge and technology; Contribution of experts to seminars, conferences and projects executed in the country.