Cross-border co-operation carried out by Spanish territorial entities

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The Council of Europe has for some time been promoting cooperation between territorial organisations on both sides of the borders for the purposes of encouraging greater participation by territorial groups in European progress, the development of border regions and the search for greater cooperation between all territorial organisations on matters such as regional, urban and rural development, environmental protection and improving shared infrastructures.

On 21 May 1981, the European Framework Agreement on cross-border cooperation between regions and territorial authorities, also known as the Madrid Treaty, was adopted in Madrid, forming the legal basis for such cooperation. It came into force on 22 December 1981 and the member states started to ratify it from then onwards. The Framework Agreement came into force in Spain on 25 November 1990, following its ratification.

Under the protection of the Framework Agreement, Spain has signed two international treaties regulating cross-border cooperation: the Treaty of Bayonne with France, in force since 1997, and the Treaty of Valencia with Portugal, in force since 2004.

During this time, more than sixty agreements have been signed. Some of them are exclusively local in nature (21); others are exclusively regional (13); some are of a mixed regional-local nature (7), and two regional agreements have been signed by more than one Autonomous Community. The agreements signed under the Hispano-French Treaty, make a total of 23; a figure which is slightly higher than the 20 agreements signed as a result of the Hispano-Portuguese Treaty.

Meanwhile, it must be highlighted that since 2004, the participation of Autonomous Communities at Bilateral Summits with the border states (France, Portugal and Morocco) has also increased.

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