Left to Right: Anne Thevenet, Hynek Böhm, Ruth Taillon and Marek Olszewski
Ruth Taillon, Annmarie O’Kane and Anthony Soares were representing CCBS in Brussels on the 7th and 8th of October in a series of events and meetings, coinciding with the EU Open Days Week.
Annmarie led a meeting with colleagues in the European Citizens Action Service. The CCBS team met with Assya Kavrakova the Director of the European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) and her colleague Vera Soldanova, EU Rights Manager to discuss current collaboration between the Border People project and the My Mobility Mentor project and to look at future cooperation between CCBS and ECAS for the future provision of cross-border information provision.
The CCBS team then attended a networking event – Partnership Opportunities with Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland – held in the Northern Ireland Executive Office, and organised by the North West Region Cross-Border Group. On the 8th, Ruth Taillon made a presentation on the work of CCBS as part of an Open Days Workshop centred on the need for capacity-building to support efficient cross-border cooperation, organised by the TEIN network.
Finally, CCBS returned to the Northern Ireland Executive Office to make a presentation of its work, focusing on capacity-building, the Border People project, and its research activities. Among the audience were officials from the Executive Office (who were extremely supportive hosts), representatives from regional authorities, MEP staffers, and Maria-Jose Doval Tedin from the Commission’s European Cross-Border Cooperation Unit. These were two very busy but successful days for CCBS!
A joint NIRSA/ESPON conference on reform of regional development policy took place on Friday, 26th September 2014, with delegates from CCBS in attendance.
From the event website:
“The economic crisis and fiscal austerity have hit regional Ireland, outside of the major urban centres, particularly hard. Unemployment and out-migration have all increased, re-exposing the historic disparities which were temporarily masked by the construction bubble. The geography of the nascent economic recovery is further revealing an increasingly ‘two-speed’ Ireland with new employment and investment ever more concentrated in the larger cities competing at a global scale.
While much of the focus has been on prioritising national economic recovery, comparatively little attention has been paid to the uneven spatial and regional dimensions of the crisis. EU Cohesion Funding for 2014-2020, which is worth €1.2 billion to Ireland, together with the government’s ambitious proposals for local government and planning reform represent an important opportunity for Ireland to implement meaningful policies and to frame new governance institutions to counteract unbalanced development and promote regional recovery.
This one-day conference aims to take stock of these developments and will have a specific focus on the spatial aspects of policy implementation, particularly the proposed review of the National Spatial Strategy and the new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies which are to be developed as integrated cross-sectoral policy vehicles for economic development, investment and job creation.
The programme of speakers comprises national and international speakers and will bring together policy actors who will have a key role in shaping Irish regional policy in the years ahead.”
Presentations given at this event can be found here
UK institutions and services will have to adapt and change and some new Scottish bodies may be created following the Scottish referendum on 18 September. Prior to the referendum CCBS Chairperson, Helen Johnston, was interviewed by Mark Easton of BBC News for an item questioning “Is Ireland a model for Scotland?”, exploring the question of the constitutional changes faced by Scotland as more power is devolved from Westminster to Holyrood.
Screened on 15 September, the news item can be viewed here
CCBS Director Ruth Taillon and Justin Gleeson, Director of the All-Island Research Observatory, NUIM delivered presentations at a seminar in Strasbourg on 16 and 17 September, on “Prospects for effective transfrontier co-operation in Europe”. The seminar was jointly organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Euro-Institute and the European Public Administration Pole (EPAP).
In March 2012, the Congress Governance Committee and the Euro Institute co-organised a conference on “Multi-level Governance in Transfrontier Cooperation”. Subsequently, the Congress resolved to organise an action plan to i) establish a pool of expertise on transfrontier cooperation issues; ii) coordinate research in this area, including data collection and the development of indicators; and iii) to develop capacity building and training programmes.
The Strasbourg seminar gathered European experts and actors in transfrontier co-operation and aimed at establishing this action plan and a network of experts to promote these priorities. It focused on three fundamental aspects in this area: the legal instruments, data collection and training. Presenting at the workshop on Evidence based Trans-frontier Cooperation, Ruth Taillon presented the Impact Assessment Toolkit for Cross-Border Cooperation, developed by CCBS in partnership with the Euro Institute with INTERREG IVA funding as part of our INICCO-1 project. Justin Gleeson presented the Atlas of the Island of Ireland, a project being developed as part of our INICCO-2 project.
More information on the seminar, including all speakers’ presentations, is available here
The Centre for Cross Border Studies has submitted its response to the consultation on Ireland’s second National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. In its response, CCBS has recommended the further development through the NAP of the implementation of the principles of UNSCR 1325 on a cross-border and all-island basis, as well as through an East-West approach. It also emphasises the need to improve monitoring and evaluation of the NAP.
Read the full response
The centre for Cross Border Studies was one of four organisations shortlisted by Prospect Magazine in the 2014 edition of its Think Tank Awards. Included in the “One to Watch” category, alongside the Higher Education Policy Institute, Legatum Institute, and Transform Drug Policy, the panel of expert judges considered CCBS and the other shortlisted organisations to have shown “exceptional progress and focus”. The judges also noted that CCBS’s “direct comment on north-south cooperation was striking”. On the night (16 July), the award was given to the Higher Education Policy Institute — many congratulations to them!
For more details, click here
The Centre for Cross Border Studies is a proud supporter of the John Hewitt Society, which has developed a range of literary and cultural activities aimed at breaking down parochialism, narrow and exclusive concepts of identity, and hostility towards the ‘other’. Each year, CCBS sponsors an annual talk as part of the Society’s Summer School; this year’s speaker is Ross Martin, a leading public policy professional in Scotland. Ross is currently Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry; he previously held the post of Director of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy. In light of the upcoming Scottish independence referendum, Ross will be addressing the key issues facing the Scottish economy and the potential points of policy discontinuity which the referendum represents.
Date: Thursday 31 July, 9.45am
Venue: Marketplace Theatre, Armagh
To book tickets for this event, and to find out more about the John Hewitt Summer School, please click here.
Read the Press Release
Centre for Cross Border Studies Director Ruth Taillon participated in a panel discussion on Scotland in a changing union: ensuring effective cooperation after the referendum at the Institute for Government in London on 16 July. The other speakers were Scottish MP Pete Wishart (SNP) and Plaid Cymru Councillor Liz Saville Roberts. The event was part of the Institute’s Governing After the Referendum project, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its Future of the UK and Scotland programme coordinated by the University of Edinburgh.
A report and a video of the event can be viewed here
The Centre for Cross Border Studies has submitted its response to the current SEUPB consultation on the new PEACE and INTERREG programmes for 2014-2020. In its response, CCBS has highlighted the need for more explicit reference to be made to cross-border activities, and recommended that 15% of the PEACE budget be ring-fenced for cross-border projects. It has also recommended that within the Civil Society strand of PEACE, a proportion of the allocated budget be reserved for distribution outside local authority Peace Action Plans, and that Competitiveness of SMEs become an objective within the INTERREG programme.
Click here for a summary of the response
Click here to read the response in full
On the 26th June, The Centre for Cross Border Studies gave evidence during a formal session of the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Speaking on the current state of cross-border cooperation on the island of Ireland, Ruth Taillon, the Centre’s Director, stated: “We are very concerned that the political stability and the progress made towards increased cross-border mobility and cooperative relationships across social, economic and cultural life will be eroded without continued support, both financial and in public policy”.
Among its recommendations to the Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, the Centre for Cross Border Studies stated that “it is essential that cross-border cooperation be mainstreamed within public policy – and budget lines – on both sides of the border”.
Read the Press Release (MS Word): PRESS RELEASE
Read the full submission (PDF): CCBS CIGFA Submission 26-06-14