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The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pej?inovi? Buri?, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 Toolkit (available in several languages)
The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) provides an analysis of measures taken by the EU member states in response to the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that they could be the cause of serious problems in border regions and highlighting their specific impact on cross-border areas. While some countries have established exceptions for cross-border workers, others have not. While some regions have organised measures with their neighbours, others have not been allowed to do so.
Based on its b-solutions pilot initiative to tackle border obstacles and difficulties along EU internal land borders, AEBR has set up a repository of concrete cases to illustrate specific effects in (cross-)border regions of measures taken to control the pandemic, and was preparing a proposal to the European Commission to take into account the need to adapt measures, regulations and other provisions to the reality of those regions. The Commission and AEBR have opened the fourth call for proposals under the b-solutions initiative, which aims to find solutions to legal and administrative obstacles to cooperation with their neighbours. On the same subject, AEBR published a compendium presenting the analyses of the 43 obstacles and relative solutions that were identified during the first two calls for b-solutions proposals. AEBR also shared reports from different border regions, showing the initiatives that have been put in place to facilitate the conditions faced by many citizens in those regions.
Given the important role of SMEs in economic recovery, AEBR advised the InterVentures Interreg Europe project, aimed at promoting the internationalisation of SMEs in border areas, and its results and conclusions should be useful for SMEs in most such regions.
The association has launched a call for application for its annual cross-border award "Sail of Papenburg", which this year will have as its theme: “Covid-19 – re-opening of borders. Joint measures and solutions in border regions.”
AEBR is organising its first online forum which aims to bring together AEBR members and partners to exchange experiences during the pandemic, the deconfinement process and future perspectives. It organised an online forum focusing on cross-border challenges of IPA countries (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AEBR, the MOT and the CESCI have formed a platform to promote cross-border cooperation within the EU with title “European Cross-Border Citizens' Alliance”, the aim being to counter the deep negative impact that the closure of borders has had on the lives of citizens in border regions, to promote the role of territorial cohesion within the Recovery Fund, and to demonstrate the need to take cross-border relations into account before closing any borders in the event of a new wave of Covid-19.