EP discussions on tourism as key factor to exploit the untapped potential of cross-border areas

The Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament (TRAN) has recently discussed about the role that tourism is playing within the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The TRAN Committee expressed its opinion on the European Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the support from the ERDF to the European territorial cooperation goal.

Leading rapporteur from the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), Jaromír Kohlíček, incorporated in the opinion amendments from other Parliamentary groups. One of the new elements in the Commission proposal is the provisions on thematic concentration and investment priorities; MEPs ensured to keep tourism among them, as in Mr. Kohlíček words: without neglecting “the tourism aspect with regards to exploiting the untapped potential of cross-border areas”.

One of the most active during the discussion, the EPP (Group of the European People’s Party), represented by the joint Intervention of Dominique Vlasto, Christine de Veyrac, and Michel Dantin, claimed, among other subjects, to incorporate the shared use of service and tourist infrastructures without any kind of barrier within and between Member States, facilitating mobility between tourist and hinterland areas, in order to strengthen territorial cohesion. This seems essential to strengthen the link between popular tourist destinations and their surrounding areas. The EPP member, Hubert Pirker, requested that cross-border cooperation should aim to tackle common challenges jointly identified in the border regions, proposing support for crossborder transport routes, promotion of cross-border tourism joint marketing, and appealing to the development of joint tourism strategies as a significant contribution towards the Lisbon Treaty’s new ‘territorial cohesion’ objective.

On the side of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (GREEN), represented by Michael Cramer, one of the main active voices in the TRAN Committe, contributions were related to sustainable cross-border mobility, referring to sustainable transport networks, with priority on rail connections and sustainable cross-border tourism. It was remarked the need of clearly asses the volume of investments made to improve the accessibility to tourism services for persons with reduced mobility.

Other tourism related amendments were brought by Oldřich Vlasák , from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), who introduced concepts related to the development of cultural exchange and improvement of tourism infrastructure, and the joint initiative of Carlo Fidanza and Salvatore Tatarella (EPP), Spyros Danellis from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and Giommaria Uggias from the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), claiming for the development of specific projects in the tourism sector.

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