The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: Potentials for transnational and cross-border partnerships by means of EGTC

Project briefing

  • Status Completed
  • Project duration October 2012 – January 2014
  • Programme MORO

In Europe international territorial cooperation is realised both with and without EU programmes. The EGTC is an instrument of EU cohesion policy which provides an opportunity for improving legal and planning certainty. In the course of this study, which was conducted in the context of the Demonstration Projects of Spatial Planning (MORO) programme, potentials for increasing the use of EGTC by German stakeholders were analysed. This included the analysis of experiences with EGTC and developing recommendations for establishing EGTC in different contexts.


The main objective of European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) is to facilitate and promote the cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation of the Groupings’ members. They are made up of member states, regional and local authorities and/or bodies governed by public law. Due to its legal personality, the EGTC provides a basis for legal and planning certainty as well as for legal clarity. This instrument directly supports the implementation of the EU cohesion policy.

In adopting Regulation 1082/2006 in 2006, the European Union provided the basis for establishing European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation. In the process of updating the legal basis for the application of Structural Funds for the next EU funding period, all relevant regulations were brought in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. This included to update the EGTC Regulation based on the recent experience with EGTCs. On December 20, 2013, the new 1302/2013 Regulation was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council following a proposal by the Commission.

So far, by November 2013, 41 EGTCs have been founded. Germany takes part in only three of these EGTCs and none has its registered office in Germany. However, interest in founding EGTCs has recently risen in Germany, especially in Eastern Germany.


Against the background of a low level of German participation and the low variety of observable fields of application of EGTCs, this study aimed to demonstrate both limits and possibilities for the application of EGTCs. The analysis focussed on the following fields of applications:

  • institutions and networks founded by transnational projects (ETC);
  • transnational authorities and interministerial networks;
  • territorial cross-border cooperation in the German-Polish border area.

As far as EGTCs appeared to be suitable for these applications, the concrete form of cooperation and collaboration between the Federal Governement and federal state ('Länder') levels was analysed and recommendations for relevant stakeholders were developed.

This study was carried out by Spatial Foresight Germany GmbH, Berlin in cooperation with EureConsult S.A., Echternach (Luxembourg).



  • Dr. Wilfried Görmar
    Division I 3 - European Spatial and Urban Development

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