Transnational cooperation builds trust beyond borders and fosters European integration for a more competitive Europe
Cooperation zones are the right scale for building effective partnerships. Each zone shares similar challenges and cultures, which facilitates trust-building and seamless cooperation. Thousands of businesses, universities and organisations have found that when regions and cities work closely together, they all become stronger.
The Elbe River (Labe is the Czech name for the River) is characterised by conditions which are typical for many rivers in Central Europe: near-natural river landscapes, economic development, its potential for various sectors such as tourism and transport and an attractive living environment and settlements. However all these developments at the river face a high potential of flood risk, which is also influenced by changing impacts of climate change. When the century flood of the Elbe River occurred in 2002, all regions along the river took measures but these were not coordinated beyond borders. The floods were pushed further downstream, magnifying the problems for downstream regions. At that time there was hardly any exchange between the authorities in the Elbe countries. They did not even know each other.
The LABEL project changed that. The project covered most of the river basin, 70 percent of the German and 50 percent of the Czech area. Hungarian and Austrian regions were also involved. Amongst others, LABEL developed together with the responsible authorities a transnational risk management strategy which helped to reduce flooding risks at the Elbe and neighbouring rivers. The project brought together public and private stakeholders along the Elbe River who jointly developed solutions for potential conflicts of interests for different sectors. With growing trust among these stakeholders, the project managed to create harmonised methods, standards and tools for flood protection beyond borders. As a result, the following floods could be contained more efficiently and caused less damage than the one in 2002.READ MORE STORIES