The seminar on regional integration brought together expertise from Europe and Latin America

Drawing on its Executive Bureau meeting in Montevideo, ORU and the Congreso de Intendentes de Uruguay organized the seminar ‘The subnational governments in the framework of regional integration” on the 25th September. Held at the Municipal Palace, the colloquium assembled nearly forty governors from Latin America, among whom were the intendants of Uruguay and governors of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.  Also present were representatives of European regional governments and territorial institutions. 

The event provided a unique opportunity to listen, share and compare the specific cases of territorial governance and the cross-border policies of each one of the participating regions. The Brazilian Governor of Rio Grande do Sul, José Ivo Sartori, and the representative of the Argentinian province of Santa Fe, Ángel Mario Elías, presented the huge benefits that could arise from the cooperation with the neighbouring Uruguay. This was widely supported by the Uruguayan Intendants of Montevideo –Daniel Martínez–, Rivera –Marne Osorio–, and Cerro Largo –Sergio Botana–, who expressed the need to create a real cross-border policy between bordering countries. Mario Varela, Governor of the V Department of Caaguazú, Paraguay, stated that as an association of regions, ORU is the proper forum for discussion of incidents that may arise of cross-border cooperation. 

The European participation in the seminar developed in the module “Border Integration and the European experience”, which allowed comparing European and Latin American actions. Martín Guillermo, Secretary-General of the Association of European Border Regions, had a great deal to contribute to this field. By giving practical examples, he explained the keys to the successful functioning of border integration. Crucial among these is the importance of not renouncing national sovereignty, but creating emotional and cultural ties that will generate confidence among citizens in both sides of the borders. After that, the Director of External Relations at the Basque Government, Leyre Madariaga, explained their euro-region experience with the Aquitaine region in France, where they have already implemented 1,200 cross-border projects. Similarly, Claude Poulet and Abderrahim El Khantour, Director and Deputy Director of International Relations at the Champagne-Ardenne region, respectively, presented their euro-region with Wallonia, in Belgium.   

 

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