INFORMATION IN ENGLISH
The association Regio Basiliensis is the Swiss partner for the Upper Rhine cooperation and the competence center of choice to foster the cross-border cooperation in the service of politics, public authorities, economy, sciences, organisations and population. Its aim is to provide incentives from the Swiss side designed to develop the Upper Rhine area into a cohesive European border region and to actively contribute to attaining this objective.
The Regio Basiliensis association was established in 1963 by representatives from the business and academic sectors. The objective was "to plan and promote the economic, political and cultural development" of the territory and "to remove border constraints between the various subterritories (of the region) inasmuch as they constitute an economic and socio-psychological factor."
In 1969, the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft signed a formal agreement establishing the inter-cantonal coordination office (IKRB) at Regio Basiliensis as an adjunct to the Regio Basiliensis association. Since then, the association has assumed the role of a regional office of the cantons, currently also for the cantons of Aargau, Jura and Solothurn, in addition to its activities as an association. It is co-financed by about 450 members.
Acting as an association and/or on behalf the cantons, Regio Basiliensis is predominantly active in two distinct geographical zones:
- Upper Rhine with 6 million inhabitants and
- Trinational Agglomeration Basel with 0.9 million inhabitants.
This division into zones is the result of years of cooperative practice and reflects a cooperation of "variable geometry" whereby different areas cooperate according to the topics covered and the partners involved. The object of the association as defined in its articles of association is to "provide incentives from the Swiss side designed to develop the Upper Rhine area into a cohesive European border region and to actively contribute to attaining this objective." Since it was founded in 1963, Regio Basiliensis has played a major role in shaping regional cooperation in the Upper Rhine valley and has contributed significantly to most of the trinational achievements in the Upper Rhine region. Through its active participation as a member of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) and other European regional organisations, Regio Basiliensis also has a long track record of involvement at a European level in numerous initiatives designed to strengthen the regions of Europe and promote cross-border cooperation.
Swiss crossborder cooperation involvement in the Upper Rhine region
But in its capacity as regional office of the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, Regio Basiliensis has also been carrying out government duties in respect of minor foreign policy matters since 1970. And since 1996 this has also included the canton of Aargau and since 2003 the cantons of Solothurn and Jura. Regio Basiliensis is therefore active in an area reaching from Northwestern Switzerland to the Southern Palatinate, i.e. the Upper Rhine EuroRegion with 6 million inhabitants. Its partners are government bodies and public corporations. Regio Basiliensis carries out four-fifths of its work in conjunction with the inter-cantonal coordination office (IKRB). This includes coordinating with the European Programme on Territorial Cooperation Upper Rhine (Interreg VA) and a number of other cooperation bodies (the Trinational Metropolitan Upper Rhine Region, the Franco-German-Swiss Conference of the Upper Rhine (ORK), Trinational Eurodistrict Basel (TEB) and INFOBEST PALMRAIN). In general terms, Strategic Policy Document of the Northwestern Switzerland Government Conference (NWRK) sets out the framework for cross-broder cooperation.
The European Programmes on Territorial Cooperation (Interreg) and the New Regional Policy
Within the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) of the European Union (EU), namely Interreg, and the New Regional Policy (NRP) of the Swiss Confederation, the Regio Basiliensis acts as the regional coordination office for the cantons of Northwestern Switzerland and the Swiss federal government. The cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Aargau, Solothurn and Jura were quick to recognize the importance of the Interreg/ETC programmes for promoting cross-border and European cooperation as they were active participants in the regional programmes from the very beginning. In the 2014-2020 funding period, the cantons of Northwestern Switzerland participate in five ETC programmes:
- Interreg VA Upper Rhine
- Interreg VB North-West Europe
- Interreg VB Alpine Space
- Interreg Europe
- URBACT III
For Northwestern Switzerland, however, Interreg A Upper Rhine is the most important programme. To date, Switzerland has been involved in more than 200 cooperation projects in the Upper Rhine valley. These cover a wide range of topics from spatial development and transport through business initiatives and education to youth work and culture. The fact that the Swiss Confederation has been taking part in Interreg/ETC programmes since 1995 and provides funding for cooperation projects in this context is largely due to the work of Regio Basiliensis. In the period from 1995 (Interreg II) to 2013 (Interreg IV) federal funds amounting to CHF 17 million were allocated to cross-border and European cooperation projects in Northwestern Switzerland. Since 2008, federal funding has been provided within the framework of the NRP. The aim of the NRP is to promote innovation, enterpreneurship, added value and competitiveness in the regions. The federal government therefore only assists Interreg projects which support the aims of the NRP.
Information, promotion, lobbying
The stated aim of Regio Basiliensis is to be:
- A platform for the public: a mean of information, promotion and lobbying on matters of cross-border cooperation in the interest of the public with a particular emphasis on cross-border commuting.
- A platform for Europe: information for the general public and interest groups on the relationship between Switzerland and Europe and its impact on Northwestern Switzerland and the Upper Rhine region.
- A platform for services: providing access for other groups from the business and academic sectors and the public at large to cross-border services and incentive programmes and providing advice on successful cooperation projects.
The association and the state coordination office together form a single operating unit with a total of 6 full-time positions. The total annual budget is currently CHF 1 million. The Regio Basiliensis is an association established under the Swiss Civil Code and is currently co-financed by about 450 members. The office of the Regio Basiliensis association and the inter-cantonal coordination office at Regio Basiliensis are operated as a unit using the same name and logo. The governing bodies of the association, namely the general assembly, the board of directors and the monitoring group, provide the central control mechanisms for the Regio Basiliensis association and Upper Rhine Cooperation activities. The board of directors is the supreme executive body. It approves the budget, annual accounts and annual report for the association and the inter-cantonal coordination office (IKRB) under the auspices of the general assembly. The monitoring group is a consultative body consisting mainly of representatives from cantonal parliaments and administrative departments. The association is also the legal entity which employs the Swiss members of staff in the regional offices co-funded by the cantons, namely the ORK administrative office and INFOBEST PALMRAIN.
The inter-cantonal coordination office at Regio Basiliensis (IKRB) is affiliated to the Northwestern Switzerland Government Conference (NWRK) and its structures.