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Recommendations for cross-border innovation policies in the TTR-ELAt

The TTR-ELAt is one of the most advanced European experiments in building an innovation-driven functional cross-border region. The TTR-ELAt has passed the stage of experimentation and can further intensify its current efforts toward more strategic policy with associated funding. The main challenge for the cross-border area is the mismatch between its good potential for innovation-oriented growth and the weak and complex cross-border governance for capitalising on that potential.

Cross-border area: Adopt an innovation-driven definition of the cross-border area with a variable geometry for bottom-up activities

  • • Use the TTR-ELAt definition as the relevant cross-border area for innovation-related funding and analysis, to be recognised by supranational, national, regional and local governments.
  • • Maintain the variable geometry approach for programming to preserve the pragmatic and bottom-up philosophy of the TTR-ELAt.
  • • Collect data and communicate on cross-border facts and trends to help the constituent regions demonstrate the importance of joint action as well as measure policy impact.
  • • Brand the cross-border area more effectively to support an internal identity and greater external visibility.
  • • Continue to signal to relevant national (and in some cases regional) authorities significant cross-border integration barriers, such as regulations, transport connectivity or tax and pension issues restraining labour market mobility.

Governance: Promote a stronger co-operation platform for the TTR-ELAt with a strategic intelligence role, building on greater involvement of relevant public and non-public actors

  • • Maintain a coalition governance structure given the challenges of formalising governance.
  • • Invite regional authorities from Flanders and Wallonia (Belgium) and re-engage North Rhine-Westphalia authorities (Germany) in the TTR-ELAt cross-border efforts, for political awareness and policy support.
  • • Promote a stronger co-operation platform for the TTR-ELAt to support policies and to provide relevant information and analyses.
  • • Seek greater coherence between the Euregio Meuse-Rhine and the TTR-ELAt geographies through alignment or other means for strategic use of European Territorial Co-operation innovation-related funds, data collection and policy intelligence.
  • • Involve firms and knowledge actors (triple helix) to work in co-operation with public actors to support cross-border strategies and actions with bottom-up involvement.

Innovation policies and instruments: Develop a pragmatic strategy and align public funding to the strategy goals

  • • Refine the current cross-border strategy to better complement and engage the constituent regions and cities.
  • • Encourage national or regional innovation policy instruments (the level depending on the country) to “mainstream” cross-border activities for diversification and sustainability of funding sources.
  • • Refine the policy mix according to strategic goals, lessons from the past, and building in a maximum degree of flexibility.
  • • Adapt, where possible, EU policy instruments under Territorial Co-operation, including Interreg, to support the new realities of this knowledge-based cross-border economy through more strategic rather than stand-alone projects.
  • • Use the border as a test bed for innovation in relevant technological sectors (i.e. energy grids, ICT solutions, etc.).
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