Formal partnership: Eurode, a body based on public law
Since 1 January 1998, Herzogenrath and Kerkrade have formed a public body by the name of Eurode. This authority has two administrative bodies, namely a council and an executive authority. In European terms, probably the first such body of its kind with two local authorities from two different member states.
The body’s council, known in local usage as the “Eurode Council”, is made up of eight members from the Kerkrade town council and eight members from the Herzogenrath town council. Every two years, the mayors of the two towns succeed each other as chair of the council.
The key difference with the previous informal “Eurode working group” is that a legal entity exists and the participating councils have a legal obligation towards each other. Sadly, up until now, binding resolutions cannot be taken by the “Eurode Council”. To this end, some arrangement based on European law still has to be arrived at in order for resolutions of the “Eurode Council” to be enacted by both town councils.
The hope is that supplementary treaties will offer some kind of solution to this problem in the future.
Both Herzogenrath and Kerkrade have set their sights on developing Eurode into a European city. Even if this does not prove possible on the basis of international law, either now or in the near future, there is a strong likelihood that both communities will draw nearer to each other and that, where desirable, there will be an ever closer degree of cohabitation.
A major obstacle to achieving this objective however are the national laws which are enacted on either side of the border. These are almost impossible to harmonise for the cross-border purposes to which Eurode aspires. Eurode is trying to get round this problem through a degree of regional experimentation - as well as a small dash of anarchism. It does this by interpreting national legislation to suit a specific design and by playing a pioneering role in adapting and harmonising national pieces of legislation. However, this is done with one underlying objective in mind: to improve the conditions of those living in the two border towns, and in particular, to minimise the problems faced every day by cross-border commuters. This encapsulates the concept of the first European city. With it, Eurode firmly believes in supporting the demands of numerous other Euregions, providing them with greater creative freedom when it comes to effectuating their cross-border objectives. We have formulated this as follows: Assign us the status of a Mini-Lichtenstein and we’ll take care of our problems ourselves.
The key aspects of policy relate to the following:
- improving the economy
- transport infrastructure
- advice and guidance to cross-border commuters
- law and order, and
- culture and sport
Projects that have already been jointly effectuated in the key urban areas have proved instrumental to improving the quality of life for inhabitants of the region.
Founded on a spirit of trust and friendship, we are proud to report just some of successes already achieved, whereby participation in the key focal area of economic development in Herzogenrath and Kerkrade has been particularly active.
Examples include the Technologiepark Herzogenrath (TPH) and the Eurode Business Center (EBC).