Europe has adopted many legal frameworks to promote and manage cross-border co-operation. Today, there are 115 European regions implementing cross-border cooperation programmes. If European cross-border cooperation has managed to bring about the regional integration of the most tenuous parts of the sub-continent, why not use its example in the context of another regional bloc that is engaged in reducing its own social, economic, and territorial fractures? The West African approach should draw on the European experience, which is the most advanced in the world, even though it is not to be replicated as such. Various discussions with representatives of National Border authorities and European cross-border co-operation experts contributed to strengthen Euro-African Dialogue and led to the idea to establish a technical and financial development co-operation between European and West African border regions. A first Africa-Europe Conference on Cross-Border Co-operation could be the first step in the construction of a political foundation and in the implementation of financial and legal tools for cross-border co-operation in West Africa.
Building on the European experience, Euro-African dialogue could contribute to:
As regional/continental organisations, ECOWAS and the AU are in the centre of this Euro-African dialogue. The SWAC also works in close collaboration with the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR). Over the past few years, the AEBR has been closely following the creation of cross-border co-operation in West Africa. Several of its members have expressed their desire to see West Africa make use of the European experience.