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156536.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:29 pm Reply with quote

Answering eggshaped and MatC:


The exact definition of a Euregio in English is impossible to find either in print or on the web, so I had to rely on EC's own brochures, where Euregio was mentioned, borrowed from Strasbourg's biggest library. The glossy German-published A-4-size pamphlet “Cross-border Cooperation. Initiative INTERREG” (“not to be made use of by political parties, election candidates or their assisting election officers for canvassing purposes during the course of an election campaign”) started with the statement: “The aim of drawing Europe’s peoples into an even closer union is also one that has practical and everyday relevance in Europe’s border regions.” So far so good… “Against this background, the EU has been supporting internal and exterior cross-border co-operation since 1990 through its largest Community Initiative – INTERREG.”
The pamphlet spoke of some mystifying “INTERREG I”, “INTERREG II”, even “INTERREG II A”, but all my attempts to grasp what INTERREG, let alone “Euregio”, actually stood for were futile.
I opened a much smaller document – “PROQUA. Euregio Meuse – Rhine”. At least, it explained straight away that “PROQUA” was “the project for qualifications and the labour market”. What followed this pretty evasive explanation was a quote.
… Look, I hate doing this to you, but will nevertheless have to reproduce it in full:
“In providing Community assistance under this initiative to border areas, the Commission will accord priority to proposals which … include the establishment or development of shared institutional or administrative structures intended to widen and deepen cross-border co-operation between public agencies, private organisations and voluntary bodies; where possible, these shared institutional or administrative structures should have the competence to implement jointly determined projects.”
This sentence could easily make it into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest (and the least comprehensible) ever printed.
The source of this inspiring quotation was duly indicated underneath it:
“COMMISSION NOTICE TO THE MEMBER STATES laying down guidelines for operational programmes which Member States are invited to establish in the framework of a Community initiative concerning … cross border co-operation… (INTERREG II 94/94/C 180/13)”
This reminded me of a caption under a photo I once saw in “Korea Today” magazine: “Happy workers listening to Great Leader Kim Il Sung’s favourite opera ‘The Great Leader’s Five-Paragraph Programme of Modernising the Country’s Agriculture ’”.
I felt like immediately implementing the disposal of the brochure through the framework of the window. As I was about to do so, I spotted the sought-after words “Euregio Structures” on page 3:
“The PROQUA networks are the creative laboratory of PROQUA Phase I. The Euregio structures ensure that project lead times are long enough for users and providers to get to know one another’s core competences…”
It was hopeless…
There were only two more Euregio-mentioning pamphlets available, and I had somewhat better luck with them. From the first one I learned that “The Euregional Council” for Euregio Maas-Rhein consisted of 81 (!) members sitting in two chambers, five Commissions and a “joint presidium”. The pamphlet also made a feeble attempt to provide a definition for The INTERREG programme, which, according to it, was “a community initiative of the European Commission, aimed at combatting underdevelopment in the border regions of the member states”. Not particularly helpful, but at least relatively comprehensible…
The last pamphlet was in German, yet with an English (sic) title “Fun For Family & Co”. It was advertising a travel card, allowing its holder to use all types of public transport within the Euregio, where, according to the previous brochure, “Europe was taking concrete shape”. At least, the travel card was something concrete…
In short, looking through all those “documents” hardly brought me any closer to solving the mystery of Euregios. Amazingly, even their overall number in Europe remained uncertain: one brochure claimed there were 56, another – 90, and a third one – 92. And each of them employed hundreds of well-paid (by European taxpayers, i.e. ourselves) bureaucrats! This astonishing mess gave a new meaning to the claim by the “PROQUA” pamphlet that Euregio Meuse-Rhine was “like a miniature EU”. Out of all the stuff I had read, this was the only statement that made perfect sense.
As I told you on Monday, my visit to one of the Euregios did nothing to clarify the issue, for no one there knew what Euregios were actually doing...

156563.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:59 pm Reply with quote

If anyone wanted to look into this further, they are also called Euroregions in this country. Here is the wiki.

Alternative names for googling purposes are:

euregion, euroregion, europaregion, euroregiune, grand region, regio and council.

156596.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:08 pm Reply with quote

I predict that this suggestion will not promote an ever-closer union between the members of our little community, but maybe some of these Euro-myths are useable, in reverse, in the Gen Ig section of a Europe-themed show:

Q: Where do the following regulations come from? (hairnets for fishermen, kilts are womenswear, bendy bananas are banned, etc)

F: The EU

A: The imagination of British journalists.

157165.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:07 pm Reply with quote

A slightly intriguing post 157079 from simonp on the outer forums leads me to a question about how EU regulations designed to help the environment are forcing us to use more fossil fuel which, erm, harms the environment. This would need to be checked but it sounds as if he knows what he's talking about.

157177.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:33 pm Reply with quote

There's quite a lot about emissions standards on the web; I've only had a quick look, and I'm certainly no expert in this field, but I can't find the suggestion that simonp makes (that restrictions are self-defeating) anywhere else. There are allegations that the targets are unattainable / rigged / unobtainable unless rigged, but not that they are inherently counter-productive as far as I can see.

157178.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:36 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
I predict that this suggestion will not promote an ever-closer union between the members of our little community, but maybe some of these Euro-myths are useable, in reverse, in the Gen Ig section of a Europe-themed show:

Q: Where do the following regulations come from? (hairnets for fishermen, kilts are womenswear, bendy bananas are banned, etc)

F: The EU

A: The imagination of British journalists.

Yes, excellent - but let's have some of the real ones, as well (such as insisting that snuff tins must carry health warnings, while the UK government chooses not to tax snuff in order to encourage smokers to take it up instead of smoking; full quotes and refs available on application).

157182.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:58 pm Reply with quote

Simon is, apparently, a bus driver.

157197.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:04 pm Reply with quote

True, but I'm a car driver and I don't know nuffink about emissions from cars beyond what I read in the Sunday Express.

157471.  Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:25 pm Reply with quote

Simonp came back to me with his source - don't know if this is kosher enough for you:

Sorry it's taken so long to get back with the source, it was:
Issue 145 of Route One magazine (09/2006).
Oh, by the way, we're on Euro 4 not 5. My bad

157495.  Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:09 pm Reply with quote

Sorry, Jenny, I didn't mean to seem difficult. Looking again, the suggestion seems to be that coaches have to use fuel in a way that results in more consumption but less emissions, which I suppose is reasonable if the emissions issue is prioritised ahead of the consumption one. I don't know that we could make comedy out of that, but if we can think of a way then we have our source - thanks for the trouble taken.

159249.  Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:09 am Reply with quote

Forthcoming European legislation which would force drivers to have front lights switched on in all daytime conditions would seriously undermine cyclists’ safety on the roads, according to the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation CTC.


159387.  Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:41 am Reply with quote

Drivers are required to have their headlights on in all daytime conditions in Italy already. Are cyclists less safe over there?

159393.  Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:55 am Reply with quote

Sweden too - all Volvos have headlights on all the time automatically.

159692.  Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:42 am Reply with quote

I don't think there's any way in which cyclists in Italy could be made any more unsafe than they are already...

162309.  Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:09 am Reply with quote

“The European Union is not a well loved organisation, as its own Eurobarometer figures show.”
- Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign Bulletin, March 2007.

Here is the home page of the Eurobarometer:


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