Council of Europe Cross-Border Cooperation Agreement as a Local Diplomatic Method.
Prof. Dr. Yusuf Erbay
In the post World-War II era, "local and regional administrations" have an important place in the working areas of the Council of Europe, one of the international organizations established for the restricting of Europe. The aim of the European congress of Local and Regional authorities, one of the three organs of the Council of Europe, is to raise the level of local and regional democracy, develop local and regional "governance", and to strengthen their autonomy. The congress attaches special importance to the implementation of the principles set forth in the European Charter of Local Self-Government by encouraging decentralization and regionalization processes and cross-border cooperation between cities and regions. The "European Framework Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation Between Local Communities and Governments", prepared by the council, came into force in 1981 in order to form the legal basis of "cross-border cooperation" which aims to establish agreement-based cooperation in border regions and find common solutions to problems. A "cross-border region" is a region that has potential commonalities in areas such as geographical, historical, environment, ethnic groups, economic opportunities, and is integrated in certain matters but is under the sovereignty of the states on both sides of the border. Finding common solutions to similar problems by establishing relations based on agreement in these regions. On the other hand, it is known that the harmonization studies that need to be done in local governments regarding the candidate countries to the European Union are generally provided by the mechanisms of the Council of Europe. Financial aids made by the European Union to candidate countries, including Turkey, were combined under the name of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance is structured into five parts that are: the components of Transition Support and Institutional Building, Cross-Border Cooperation, Regional Development, Human Resources Development and Rural Development. Under the Cross-Border Cooperation component, Turkey takes part and participates in the Turkey-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation program and the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENP) Black Sea Basin Program.