Karavanke Geopark’s new status to boost cross-border cooperation

Holding a new status, Karavanke Geopark is now able to launch cross-border projects in areas where such cooperation used to be poor or even non-existent, including in the traffic and mobility sectors.

The cooperation among the region's municipalities and institutions aims to improve the quality of life for citizens on both sides of the border.

However, such collaboration could stumble upon obstacles mostly resulting from different national laws and regulations.

To facilitate and promote cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation and enhance the economic, social and territorial development, the EU set up a legal instrument called the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) in 2006.

This form enables joint development projects, know-how exchange, spatial planning cooperation, and most notably, equal opportunities for institutions regardless of the country they belong to, Karavanke Geopark told the STA.

Last year, all 14 municipalities in the region endorsed the decision. Both the Carinthian state government and the Slovenian government then gave the go-ahead for the transformation of Karavanke Geopark and thus the first EGTC was formed on the Slovenian-Austrian border.

Currently, there are 75 such groupings in Europe, including five in Slovenia – apart from Karavanke Geopark, there are three on the Hungarian-Slovenian border and a cross-border association on the Italian-Slovenian border.