The Franco-German-Swiss Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) for the promotion of cross-border cooperation in the Upper Rhine region meets today, Friday 27 November, chaired by France. Its aim is to facilitate the daily lives of border populations, by proposing solutions to the problems identified in the region. It strengthens the work of the Upper Rhine Conference at the political level. In more than 40 years of existence, the Conference has come to position itself as an essential player in tri-national cross-border cooperation in the basin of the Upper Rhine.
To the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and consistent with the commitments made at the European level, the IGC will take stock of the excellent coordination that prevails between our countries and reiterate the joint commitment to maintain cross-border mobility. Enhanced health cooperation prospects will also be central to the talks, in the light of the successes in recent months.
In this basin area, shared by more than six million inhabitants, the economic recovery will of course feature on the agenda, as will cross-border training. In order to strengthen the resilience of these regions, the meeting will address the key issue of rail connections in the Upper Rhine region, and will give a broad overview of ongoing and upcoming transport projects.
Lastly, the Commission will be an opportunity to highlight the decisive impetus given to cross-border cooperation by the Franco-German Treaty of Aachen. The Franco-German cross-border cooperation committee, in which Switzerland has observer status, is a fixture in the landscape of cross-border cooperation in Europe. Its members and the participants in the Intergovernmental Commission have rallied to combat the health threat, and directly benefit the populations concerned.
The next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission will take place in 2021, chaired by Germany.
On the border between France, Switzerland and Germany, the Upper Rhine is a cradle of European cross-border cooperation, fostered by intense economic exchanges, cultural proximity and a common history. Since the end of the Second World War, the people of the Rhine Valley have come together to coordinate and organize the management of transport, higher education and research, agriculture, the environment, culture and economic matters.
To provide a lasting framework for this tri-national cooperation, on 21 November 1991, the three Rhine States founded the Upper Rhine Conference, which connects the governmental and administrative services of the German federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the five cantons of North-Western Switzerland (Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Aargau, Jura and Solothurn), and the French departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and the Grand-Est region.
The Franco-German-Swiss Intergovernmental Commission is the intermediary for the Upper Rhine Conference to the governments of the three countries. It is held once a year.