French-German Dialogue: Living in European Border Regions
ALDA was present at the recent conference, taking place from 13th until 16th September, on the challenges and opportunities of political participation in border regions. Its main purpose was to highlight the fact that the daily lives of citizens and the consequences of political decisions do not stop at borders. The event was organised by the Europäische Akademie (European Academy) based in Otzenhausen which celebrates its 60th year of promoting European unification this year and was held in this small, German town close to neighbouring France.
It offered a forum for exchange of information and experience for 30 citizens politically active in civil society, who deal with cross-border issues at different levels and use various institutional and non-formal tools and instruments of political participation. ALDA was represented by Biljana Zasova, Senior Programmes Co-ordinator for ALDA’s Strasbourg office who gave a presentation on the Eurodistrict of Strasbourg-Ortenau.
The objective of the conference was to systematise challenges related to living in a border region and to propose possible solutions on the basis of practical experience, which could result in the joint development of projects in the future. Challenges, concrete approaches to solutions and projects were presented at a public event at the end of the three-day workshop and critically discussed at a round-table with scientists, decision-makers and the general public.
Moreover, there was a wide range of guest speakers who are experts on the topics being discussed including Inga Wachsmann from the Fondation Charles Léopold Meyer, an organisation which conducts research aimed at improving social development and Frédéric Joureau, Consul general of the French Republic in Saarland, Saarbrucken along with many other contributors.