sábado, 11 de mayo de 2019

domingo, 18 de marzo de 2018

Quasi nanos gigantum humeris insidentes

La celebración de las Fallas de Valencia y su cremá mañana, me hace pensar que son la gran antesala de las fastuosas Fogueres de Sant Joan en Alacant (Alicante) el próximo mes de junio. Permítaseme un poco de alicantinismo, pero dónde va a parar tener las fiestas en junio que en marzo. Las Hogueras se celebran durante el solsticio de verano (se comienza a celebrar oficialmente cuatro días antes, pero cada vez se adelantan un poco más), terminando con la cremá del 24 de junio, festividad de San Juan (aunque luego sigue el concurso de fuegos artificiales y La Traca en el Postiguet hasta San Pedro, el 29 de junio).  

Tanto las Hogueras como las Fallas me han recordado siempre —vaya usted a saber por qué, quizás porque son como unos "Gigantes y Cabezudos" revueltos con mensajes satíricos— a esta frase del título que bien poco tiene que ver con estos festejos, pero lo bueno de los blog personales es que uno puede escribir lo que quiera de lo que quiera, al menos por el momento.

Pues a lo que vamos, según un artículo de José Antonio Monge en la serie "La Aventura de la Historia" en elmundo.es, la expresión completa sería: “Nosotros somos como enanos aupados a hombros de gigantes”. Es la traducción castellana de un viejo tópico de la retórica escolástica medieval, atribuido a uno de los más prestigiosos escolásticos (maestro de escuela) de la primera hora (s. XII), Bernardo de Chartres. La fuente es un escrito de Juan de Salisbury, uno de sus discípulos más conocidos en la escuela catedralicia de esa ciudad: “Decía Bernardo de Chartres que somos como enanos aupados a hombros de gigantes, de manera que podemos ver más cosas y más lejanas que ellos, no por la agudeza de nuestra vista o por nuestra elevada estatura, sino porque estamos alzados sobre ellos y nos elevamos sobre su altura gigantesca” (Metalogicus, IV). La frase fue retomada por Luis Vives y llegó a los científicos del siglo XVII, significando que sus logros se levantan sobre la obra de sus predecesores. 

Otra cita en inglés: We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants (discover the truth by building on previous discoveries), so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by any virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size. (Bernard de Chartres)

Isaac Newton la parafraseó: If I have further is by standing on the shoulders of giants. 

miércoles, 21 de febrero de 2018

Eligibility of EU Overseas Countries and Territories in b-Solutions


a. Eligibility of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) of the European Union: Anguilla (UK), Aruba (NL), Bermuda (UK), Bonaire (NL), British Virgin Islands (UK), Cayman Islands (UK), Curaçao (NL), Falkland Islands (UK), French Polynesia (FR)French Southern and Antarctic Lands (FR), Greenland (DK), Montserrat (UK), New Caledonia (FR), Pitcairn Islands (UK), Saba (NL), Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Islands (UK), Saint-Barthélemy (FR), Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (FR), Sint Eustatius (NL), Sint Maarten (NL), Turks and Caicos Islands (UK), Wallis and Futuna (FR).

b. Which neighbouring countries in this case should be considered as eligible ? These of their respective associated countries ( Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) in Europe or /and these directly neighbouring sea border countries.


OCT are not part of the EU and the EU acquis does not apply to them. Therefore they are not eligible.

But we should distinguish Outermost Regions, which are part of the EU: Azores and Madeira (PT), Canary Islands (ES), French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, La Réunion and Mayotte (FR). Anyway, none of their land borders are eligible for b-Solutions: those of the French Guyana with Brazil and Surinam, and the case of Sint Maarten-Saint  Martin.

Additionally, there are several special cases, with ad hoc arrangements in their relationship with the EU. In general:
  • Areas that are part of the EU: Åland Islands, Büsingen am Hochrhein, Campione d'Italia and Livigno, Ceuta and Melilla, UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Helgoland and Mount Athos.
  • Areas that are not part of the EU: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Faroe Islands, Channel Islands (Bailiwick of Jersey and Bailiwick of Guernsey), Isle of Man and Northern Cyprus.

lunes, 19 de febrero de 2018

Participation of Andorra in b-Solutions

Interesting two questions on flat rates and Andorra:

The Consortium of the Working Comunity of the Pyrenees wants to participate in this call with all health entities to fix emergencies cross-bording issues. They have two questions:
- What about flat rates? 
- Andorra can participate, but its expenses are not elegible, is this correct?

- Regarding flat rates, that’s the point. There are no percentages, minimum or maximum expenditure. Eligible costs are travel and accommodation, per diem, external expert fees, and 7% overheads.
- On Andorra, it is not an EU member, but enjoys a special relationship: it is considered as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs), it is member of the EU Custom Union, but it is not considered an EU member for agricultural products. Andorra’s currency is Euro and issues Euro coins. And, its territory is considered within an Interreg A Programme (POCTEFA). Interesting case which it should be simply considered as EFTA for the purpose of this call: its border territory can be considered in its relationship with France and Spain, but the costs incurred by Andorran partners are not eligible.

martes, 6 de febrero de 2018

Questions on eligibility of EGTCs, affiliated entities and budget issues


The EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation) of the municipalities of Gorizia (IT), Nova Gorica (SI) and Šempeter-Vrtojba (SI), EGTC GO are interested in applying for the Call for pilot projects “b-solutions” with a proposal focused on local public transport in the cross-border area.  Beside of the involvement of the two public transport companies of Gorizia and Nova Gorica as “affiliated entities”, they want to know if the Italian Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, as a Managing Authority of the Interreg V CBC Programme Italy Slovenia 2014 2020, can be included in the partnership as an associated partner. Although the call for proposal does not foresee such a type of partner (a body with no allocated budget), they want to stress the relevance for the project of having the MA of the Programme Italy Slovenia on board so as to ensure a wider and meaningful impact of the project in the whole Programme area.


On eligibility of partners it applies the following paragraph (page 9, chapter 3 Eligible organisations, fourth paragraph):

Cross-border entities such as European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs), Euroregions, Eurodistricts, Eurocities and similar cross-border structures with legal personality can also apply (even if they are not public bodies). If the applicant is a cross-border entity, the above-mentioned conditions (contiguity to the border; at least one partner from each side of the border; at least one public body) must be met within its own structure. This is to say, the applicant cross-border entity must be composed by at least one public body and at least one member from each side of the border which territory is limited by the national border. If these conditions are met a co-applicant is not required.

Being the EGTC composed by the Italian Municipality of Gorizia and the Slovenian municipalities of Nova Gorica and Šempeter-Vrtojba, we understand that the conditions are fulfilled and the EGTC can be sole applicant in this Call.

Regarding the budget they can design it and distribute the expenses as they wish. There is no indication about equal division among partners or between types of costs, with the exception of indirect costs, with a clear percentage. The only condition is to take into account eligible costs for the grants. Other costs can be paid by other means. They can also include the MA (the Region of FVG) as affiliated entity without budget, they don’t need to establish a new category. The idea of affiliated entities goes in this direction.

Questions about b-Solutions I (Which territories are eligible?)

I will publish here most relevant questions posed by potential applicants to b-Solutions Call for Proposals.

Today, a stakeholder from the Romanian-Moldovan border asked:

Does the initiative cover the EU external Borders? In a particular case, we are interested in formulating an application form concerning environmental/public health services with a cross-border dimension shared between Romania and Republic of Moldova.

A further question was:

The Call for Proposal states that At least one co-applicant must be an entity from the other side(s) of the border, preferably a peer of the main applicant (page 9/13) and on the other hand, all applicants shall be located in an EU member state (page 9/13). Under these terms, if the leader is a Romanian organization and the co-applicant is an organization from the Republic of Moldova, is the proposal eligible?

Unfortunately, the answer is "no" to both questions:

We have already shown our regret, but the CB Review, the Communication and subsequent measures, like this b-Solutions Call, only focus on internal EU/EFTA land borders. We have asked for a similar initiative for maritime borders, as well as for the territories of the current ENI and IPA CBC programmes, and the proposal has been warmly welcomed but it corresponds to other policy areas and first b-Solutions will be implemented in EU internal land borders.

In page 4 of the Call, sub-chapter 1.2 b-Solutions, the second paragraph states: The general objective of b-solutions is to identify and promote sustainable methods of resolving border obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature along EU internal land borders.

The third paragraph in same page also states: Public authorities should seize the opportunity offered by b-solutions to test effective ways —in the form of pilot actions— of overcoming border obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature along EU internal land borders (including also the neighbouring EFTA countries).

In page 6, chapter 2 on Thematic coverage, third paragraph: As stated, the Commission’s desire is to see projects proposed that bring concrete, durable, effective and replicable solutions to address cross-border obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature along EU internal land borders.

And, in page 9, chapter 3 on Eligible organizations, when establishing the principles which apply to all eligible applicants, the first bullet point states: All applicants shall be located in an EU Member State (or neighbouring EFTA country) and their territories share at least one EU internal land border with another EU Member State/EFTA country.

Therefore, it is very clearly stated several times which territories are eligible for both the b-solution identified and the applicants: EU/EFTA internal land borders.

Anyway, it is very good to draw the attention on those very dynamic cross-border areas which are not (yet) included in Interreg.

jueves, 1 de febrero de 2018

b-Solutions Call for Proposals is now open until 30 April 2018

DG Regio and AEBR have announced the launch of the EU pilot initiative “b-solutions” online and in Bratislava during the third workshop of the series about Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions organized in various European location (previous two in Mérida and Copenhagen). The Call for Proposals is open as of 1 February until 30 April 2018 (14h00 CET).

AEBR manages the EU pilot initiative “b-solutions”, a 2-year project financed by the EU budget and promoted by the European Commission’s DG REGIO as one of the actions proposed in the Communication Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions. The general objective of b-solutions is to identify and promote sustainable methods of resolving border obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature along EU internal land borders.

Public authorities should seize the opportunity offered by b-solutions to test effective ways —in the form of pilot actions— of overcoming border obstacles of a legal and/or administrative nature along EU internal land borders (including also the neighbouring EFTA countries) that can be replicable in other contexts. Each of these pilot actions must focus on one of the topics highlighted in the Communication and accompanying Staff Working Document, i.e. (1) employment, (2) health, (3) transport, (4) multi-lingualism and (5) institutional cooperation.

Each of these projects (actions) will have the objective of exploring one specific solution for one specific problem in one specific border. Projects will be implemented during a maximum period of 15 months.

The text of the Call for proposals, the application form and guidelines can be found in the b-solutions dedicated website: https://www.b-solutionsproject.com/
Contact: b-solutions@aebr.eu