In view of the difficulties encountered by the Member States in carrying out and managing cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation, the new legislative framework [see section 12.1.2], provides for the creation of a European-level cooperation instrument allowing the creation of cooperative groupings with their own legal personality, called “European groupings of territorial cooperation” (EGTC) [Regulation 1082/2006]. An EGTC is an optional cooperation instrument at European level. The objective of an EGTC should be to facilitate and promote cross-border, transnational and/or interregional cooperation, with the exclusive aim of strengthening economic and social cohesion. An EGTC may be made up of members belonging to one or more of the following categories: (a) Member States; (b) regional authorities; (c) local authorities; and (d) bodies governed by public law. The decision to establish an EGTC should be taken at the initiative of its prospective members. An EGTC may act on behalf of its members, and notably the regional and local authorities of which it is composed.
An EGTC should carry out the tasks given to it by its members in accordance with Regulation 1082/2006. Its tasks are defined by the convention agreed by its members, but should be limited to the facilitation and promotion of territorial cooperation to strengthen economic and social cohesion. Specifically, the tasks of an EGTC should be limited primarily to the implementation of territorial cooperation programmes or projects co-financed by the Union through the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and/or the Cohesion Fund. However, an EGTC may carry out actions of territorial cooperation which are at the sole initiative of the Member States and their regional and local authorities with or without a financial contribution from the Union.
One of the tasks of the European Regional Development Fund is the promotion of European territorial cooperation by assisting notably [Regulation 1080/2006]:
1. the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities through joint strategies for sustainable territorial development;
2. the establishment and development of transnational cooperation, including bilateral cooperation between maritime regions not covered under point 1, through the financing of networks and of actions conducive to integrated territorial development, and,
3. the reinforcement of the effectiveness of regional policy by promoting: (a) interregional cooperation focusing on innovation and the knowledge economy and environment and risk prevention; (b) exchanges of experience concerning the identification, transfer and dissemination of best practice including on sustainable urban development; and (c) actions involving studies, data collection, and the observation and analysis of development trends in the EU.
A directive aims at the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures, essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions in at least two Member States, and the assessment of the need to improve their protection, primarily against the threat of terrorism, but also against man-made and natural disasters [Directive 2008/114].