Final report

You can download the final reports on the project results by clicking on the following pictures:



 Final report on the project
Contribution paper of CESCI to the public consultation on cross-border obstacles: 2. Report on Legal Accessibility project

The final report intends to inform the readers about the main stages of the research project, which lasted eight months, as well as about the results of professional value that were achieved through carefully structured work. The final report means represents the official termination of the project; nevertheless, we carried out our work in a spirit that articulated new tasks and possibilities. This logic is directly mirrored in the structure of our final report, too.

After the first chapter giving a brief description of the introduction and methodology, the second chapter is set to identify the obstacles and its workflow. We describe in detail the stakeholder workshops offering an appropriate space to reveal the regulatory background that hinders interactions, as well as to identify obstacles, together with their territorial and sectoral aspects. Information collected during this stage marks the thematic ground of our research.

The third chapter describes the research revealing the background of obstacles and the compilation of recommendations. The unfolding of the background of the obstacles was in parallel with a composition of a European outlook, aiming to understand best examples and practices in relevant topics; revealing the existing regulatory environment and policy structure through sectoral interviews with the addressed experts; as well as making a detailed analysis of domestic and European legal frameworks. The compilation of the obstacles has been drafted based on this research work.

In the fourth chapter the results of the project related to each of the obstacles identified at the stakeholder workshops are presented. In each case, we specify the brief overview of the given obstacle, the best practices from Europe (if any) which can be used as models, the list of interviewees and relevant legal texts. Subsequently, we summarise, in a few sentences, our recommendations regarding the possible removal of each of these obstacles. At the end of the chapter, we give a short overview on our horizontal recommendations.

In the fifth chapter, we offer a summary of the main experiences of the project, by evaluating the fulfilment of the objectives set out within the indicators, as well as through a summary table. Finally, we compare the results of the project with contemporary trends in the European Union.


Set of recommendations

You can download the Set of recommendations prepared in the framework of the project by clicking on the following picture:


Based on the research activities carried out during the previous phases of the Legal accessibility project, in the subsequent stage we drafted recommendations regarding the obstacles identified at the stakeholder workshops. While doing so, we made a priority for four sectors: cross-border mobility and public transport, cross-border labour market cooperation, health care services and local products. These topics were treated in a comprehensive and integrated way (i.e. several obstacles have been merged into one larger subject) and this way we formulated concrete policy and legal recommendations.

The figure below demonstrates the share of types of recommendations in a comprehensive way. The four prioritised areas concern altogether 14 previously identified obstacles and for each of them we drafted, applying the method mentioned before, complex recommendations including both legal and policy recommendations and proposals addressed to the European Union. As it is indicated on the figure, the horizontal recommendations formulated based on the experience of the research conducted after the identification of the barriers are relevant in relation to the resolution of all obstacles affecting border areas.

Distribution of types of recommendation

We made three types of recommendations for the removal of the barriers: if it was possible, we drafted a legal text proposal; in other cases, we made a proposal to policy interventions; and if we considered the room for manoeuvring too narrow for national level interventions, we initiated an EU level solution.

The legal recommendations can be classified again into three groups:

  • proposals of bilateral agreements, the wording of the agreement included;
  • proposals for modification of particular legal text;
  • guidelines for the necessary modification of the legal environment.

The study also contains a horizontal or, in other words, a „meta-level” chapter which, reaching beyond the sectoral based approach makes proposals on the one hand to apply EU and national level solutions for the information of the citizens; and, on the other hand, based on the example of the Nordic Council, to launch institutionalised mechanisms, by also involving neighbouring countries, which, make the problems caused by the borders erected by the nation states manageable.

The organizational model of the proposed macro-regional platform
The organizational model of the proposed macro-regional platform

Legislative inventory

You can download the Legislative inventory prepared in the framework of the project by clicking on the following picture:

Cover: Legislation review

During the legal analytical phase, we reviewed the legal environment of the obstacles identified at the workshops. When presenting the legal framework, we concentrated mainly on the legislation in Hungary but in the cases when it was necessary, we also touched upon the legal resources created by the European Union.

In the framework of the legal inventory, with respect to the 39 obstacles or groups of obstacles discussed in detail earlier we reviewed in total nearly 250 provisions. Among these, there were both EU and Hungarian provisions. In some cases, we analysed the legislations of the neighbouring countries, as well. Beside the desk research, in some cases, it became necessary to negotiate with the relevant authorities with a view to clarifying the legislators’ or the law enforcement officials’ interpretation.

During the compilation process of the legal inventory, we used the National Inventory of Legislations in case of the Hungarian law, the EUR-Lex database for the EU provisions and the N-Lex database for those of the neighbouring countries.

The legal framework of the obstacles identified at the workshops shows a mixed picture after the analysis of the legislations.

In the case of several specified obstacles, it cannot be set out that we clearly face a legal barrier. Their sectoral field is ruled according to long-term policy principles and interests, which apparently do not allow room for manoeuvering to modify the relevant legislations (e.g. public security, animal health issues).

In the respect of certain barriers, real progress can be envisaged only if the policy attitude of the relevant states moves toward cooperation. It is the case with local products. Territorial delineation of the particular provisions and the limitation of the territorial jurisdiction of the authorities currently prevent the citizens living in border areas to have access to local products with as wide a range as e.g. their counterparts living in more central regions of the country.

In some cases, the current legislation is comprehensible and well-justified along policy principles but it hinders cross-border cooperation in a hardly acceptable way. It is the case with the duty-free goods transported to third countries where regardless of that duties are not applied for these products and materials; the customs procedures are not avoidable.

In the respect of several cases, during the analysis of the legal environment it became clear that no legal obstacle backs the issue but the stakeholders have false or inaccurate information on that.

As a result of the legal analysis, we had the opportunity to identify several cases where the design of the legislation facilitating cross-border interactions already started or it has been under way for a longer time. A few of them already have tangible outputs and eases the daily life of the people affected by cross-border interactions. However, these initiatives typically need further improvements and completion.

As a result of our examinations, we found 2 obstacles requiring international legal harmonisation, 12 ones which make both legal and policy interventions necessary. Further, we identified one practical and one policy problem, as well as 3 barriers which, apart from legislation, contain also other factors.

European outlook / Collection of best practices

You can download the Collection of best practices prepared in the framework of the project by clicking on the following picture:

Cover: Best Practices

In the framework of the Legal Accessibility project, we examined the problems and obstacles that arise during the interactions of border regions; furthermore, we explored the handling, management and solution of these obstacles in other parts of Europe. We mainly concentrated on those European regions that have accumulated enough experience in the field of cross-border cooperation.

Spatial distribution of European good practices

We used qualitative methodology during the preparation of the research study and during the actual research activity, too. That means our research was built on the so called ‘desk research’ methodology, thus we made a systematic gathering of good examples, their research, categorization, identification and evaluation of obstacles, and we explored the possible and implemented solutions as well.

Cross-border database and toolkit of the EDEN portal, developed by ISIG, commissioned by the Council of Europe, was a valuable help in the process of identifying relevant information on institutionalised cooperation. Furthermore, a useful source of information was the extensive information database that is accessible on the webpage of the French Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT), too.

During our research, we contacted some foreign cross-border cooperating parties and management organisations that coordinate cross-border cooperation, with the aim to receive updated and actual information, thus forming a clear picture about their obstacles and about their proposed solutions.

The document contains a detailed research of 52 good examples, and numerous additional models were mentioned. These good examples and models can be a useful source of information that can be effectively used in the process of abolishing the Hungarian obstacles.

The good examples explored are categorised in the following structure:

Topic of good examples Number of good examples with detailed exploration
eu Cross-border health care and social cooperation 11
kozlekedes Cross-border mobility and community transport cooperation 9
munka Cross-border educational and labour market cooperation 15
kornyezet Cross-border environmental cooperation 4
katasztrofa Cross-border crisis management cooperation 4
egyeb Other non-specified forms of cross-border cooperation 9

In the last group of the study, we described several institutional models for state-level coordination that offered solution to certain cross-border problems and which might be useful and instructive for continuing the project.

Moreover, the prepared collection of good practices contains a rich bibliography. Specifically, it involves more than 140 bibliographic items. This huge bibliography might be very useful for those professionals who are interested in this specific field of research.

Summary report on the series of sectoral interviews

The summary report on the interviews with sectoral experts in Hungarian can be downloaded by clicking on the image below:

Cover: Summary report on the series of sectoral interviews

Interviews with sectoral experts were conducted between April and June in 2016 within the frameworks of the project, ‘Legal Accessibility’. The principal aim of these interviews was to thoroughly explore the obstacles experienced by local participants. The obstacles were initially gathered at the stakeholder workshops and roundtable discussions.


Approximately 100 interview requests were made, of which 24 in-depth personal interviews were actually held and 14 written answers were processed. Background research was frequently helped by telephone interviews. A total of 30 telephone interviews were conducted with different sectoral representatives.

During the series of interviews, we asked for the help of experts who actively participate in shaping, or enforcing the rules, operating the system, or resolving the emerged problems. We aimed to understand the existing and determining legal and regulatory environment.

Legislative competence and acquired professional experience were considered as the most important characteristics for the selection of interviewees. Special considerations had to be included in those cases, where we had to uncover the legal background of relevant regulatory issues which were valid only on specified border sections (e.g. the Serbian – Hungarian border).

Concerning the interviews’ content structure, we considered the understanding of the complexity and completeness of the regulatory systems as important as the cases and problems we explored during earlier stakeholder workshops. Thus, the specific answers to problems that arose during our interviews also provide important general information about the given area.

We attempted to personally visit the interviewees; at the same time, however, some potential interviewees could not undertake a personal meeting due to administrative reasons, therefore we asked for written answers that they successfully provided to us. In addition, the examination of legislative regulations – which was performed in parallel with the interviews –  made it necessary to perform further searches by telephone or by written form.

Within the frames of the summary report, interviews and sectoral reactions – received either in written or oral form – are elucidated on the basis of sectors and within them on the basis of obstacles. Some obstacles – which were originally identified as separate legal obstructions –have common roots, thus the given answers and solutions are also similar; subsequently, we merged them and we treat them together.

The concrete purpose of the interviews– and of the whole project – is to recommend legislative amendments; nevertheless, the prepared interview report itself represents a valuable achievement that contributes to a deeper understanding of the complex nature of political borders.


Summary report on the stakeholder workshops

In order to download our summary report on the stakeholder workshops in English, please click on the image below:


Within the framework of the legal accessibility project, several stakeholder workshops were organised between 27 January and 18 February 2016, to which stakeholders active in cross-border projects of the relevant border region were invited.


During the course of the workshop, in the form of a round table discussion, we gather information on obstacles experienced by local participants. Following the workshops, a summary report was composed.

The report briefly presents Hungary’s border sections, primarily focusing on their status in the EU integration process, as this fundamentally determines the scale and nature of cross-border interactions.


Following the border sections description, all information that came up during the course of the workshops (legal obstacles, best practices, other obstacles of non-legal nature, further comments) were presented by geographical breakdown.

After having presented the workshops themselves, a sectorial inventory was set up about everything that has been said during the events. The figure below shows how many independent legal obstacles could be identified after grouping the issues based on all bits of raw information.


Most of the legal obstacles in the inventory call for a change in the national legislative environment. However, in some cases it is the legislations of the neighbouring country that causes hindrance, and in some cases, EU level legislation would be needed. Determining the latter will be down to the following part of the project (Investigating regulations).

It is possible that the explored legal obstacles already do partially dispose of the appropriate legal environment, but stakeholders do not know of these due to lack of information-flow. This is why we have collected all mentioned legal obstacles in our inventory, to be able to clear their background for the benefit of all participants in the following sections of the project (Sectoral interviews, Investigating regulations).

At the end of the report, we have published further useful information mentioned during the workshops. Firstly the non-legal obstacles and issues, then all further comments that help us understand the situation of some topics deemed problematic, or even best practices.

Gotthárd TV report on the Szentgotthárd Workshop

The eight workshop within the Legal Accessibility project was held in Szentgotthárd, at the Refectory of the Common Municipality Offices, to which stakeholders active in cross-border cooperation in the Austro-Slovenian-Hungarian border region were invited. In the form of a round table discussion, two associates of CESCI were collecting information on the legal obstacles, deficiencies and best practices experienced by local actors.

Based in Szentgotthárd, Gotthárd TV broadcast a 10 minute report on the workshop on the very same day of the event in its News – a programme that after 10 years is still its fastest and most efficient forum for information and communication. The report was repeatedly broadcast over the following week: each day at 6:30 a. m. and 11 p. m., and additionally at 7 p. m. on Wednesday and Friday and at 12:00 on Sunday. The first few moments of the video feature CESCI’s planner-analyst associate presenting the elements of the project, followed by representatives of the ambulance service, the Hungarian National Rural Network (MNVH) and the police, who give their opinion about obstacles and good practices experienced during their daily work.

Thanks to Gotthard TV, you can get a glimpse of the workshop through the video below:

Pécs Workshop – Croatian-Hungarian border region (Report)

The ninth and thereby last workshop within the Legal Accessibility project was held in Pécs, at the Mayor’s Offices (1 Széchenyi I. square), to which stakeholders active in cross-border cooperation in the Croatian-Hungarian border region were invited. In the form of a round table discussion, two associates of CESCI were collecting information on the legal obstacles, deficiencies and best practices experienced by local actors.

The meeting was held on the 18th of February 2016 and attended by 7 participants in the following sectors and fields:

  • ambulance service: Regional Rescue Organisation of the National Ambulance Service
  • police: Baranya County Police Department
  • disaster management: Baranya County Directorate for Disaster Management
  • economic development organisations: Pécs-Baranya Chambers for Industry and Commerce, South Transdanubian Regional Development Agency
  • local government sector: Organisation for Border towns in South Baranya
  • European grouping for territorial cooperation: Pannon European grouping for territorial cooperation

Pécsi műhelybeszélgetés

The Croatian-Hungarian border region is somewhat different from border sections with other member states, as Croatia is not (yet) part of the Schengen Zone. As a consequence, border crossing, although simplified, is not entirely without obstacles. There are similar structural issues on both sides of the border, asymmetry stimulating cross-border movements is not characteristic. Still, there regularly are spontaneous interactions, but formal cooperation is less evolved at this stage, and specific initiatives have in many cases not yet reached a point of identifying exact obstacles.

Daily travel for students studying on the other side of the border was mentioned as an issue hindering everyday life. Operation of cross-border school buses is difficult due to the legislative environment, and related initiatives have unfruitful until now.

Employment-related daily commuting is not typical in the area, seasonal migration of employees is more common. This is a spontaneous activity and thus is not facing any obstacles.

As a good practice, the continuous cooperation between law enforcement and disaster management bodies was mentioned. In the case of the police, this means common performance of duty, while in the case of disaster management, it materialises in the form of common simulation exercises.

Chambers for industry and commerce (as well as the local organisation of the Enterprise Europe Network) are also maintaining good contact, but they are facing information asymmetry hindering their daily activities. The Regional Development Agency, together with the neighbouring Croatian region, have a common regional representative office in Brussels, which holds great potential, but also some barriers, such as the representation competences varying per country.


Szentgotthárd Workshop – Austro-Slovenian-Hungarian border region (Report)

The eight workshop within the Legal Accessibility project was held in Szentgotthárd, at the Refectory of the Common Municipality Offices, to which stakeholders active in cross-border cooperation in the Austro-Slovenian-Hungarian border region were invited. In the form of a round table discussion, two associates of CESCI were collecting information on the legal obstacles, deficiencies and best practices experienced by local actors.

The meeting was held on the 16th of February 2016 and attended by 9 participants in the following sectors and fields:

  • diplomacy: Szentgotthárd Consulate General of the Republic of Slovenia;
  • health care: West Transdanubian Regional Rescue Organisation of the National Ambulance Service;
  • law enforcement: Vas County Police Department;
  • local government sector: Municipality of Szentgotthárd;
  • rural development: Vas County Offices of the Hungarian National Rural Network
  • tourism: Szentgotthárd TDM;
  • media: Gotthárd TV.

Participants of the Szentgotthárd workshop have experience related to two border sections that are in general significantly more favourable compared to the country’s other borders. Both neighbouring countries are EU members and part of the Schengen Zone. Formal and spontaneous interactions are frequent and have a history that goes back years and years. Apart from institutional cooperation, private initiatives are also common in the border area. Due to the best practices of this cooperation, participants did not mention many legal obstacles fundamentally hindering these projects.

The most important legal obstacle that came up during the workshop was mentioned by the Ambulance Service representatives. Cross-border relationships work well in the field of joined training and rescue programmes, but several legal barriers have occurred during their everyday operative work. Relevant organisations have already discussed specific obstacles of cooperation in the framework of several forums, but are yet to find a solution. During the meeting, it was mentioned that even though Hungarian ambulances cannot cross the border carrying a patient, their Austrian colleagues often take action on the other side of the border without informing Hungarian authorities.

According to attendees of the workshop, there are also legal obstacles of the neighbouring countries’ public service providers helping each other at times of heavy snowfall. Special vehicles from the other side of the border cannot cross for legal reasons, sometimes in both directions, to help conquer physical barriers together. Participants reported that relevant institutions would gladly cooperate in these cases.

The police forces representative gave account of the existing good relationships maintained with the related neighbouring countries and their fruitful cooperation which also applies to daily, operative cooperation.

Szentgotthárdi műhelybeszélgetés

Szeged Workshop – Romanian-Hungarian border region (Report)

The seventh workshop within the Legal Accessibility project was held in Szeged, at the Csongrád County Government Offices (1 Rákóczi square), to which stakeholders active in cross-border cooperation in the Romanian-Hungarian border region were invited, especially from the southern part of the border section. In the form of a round table discussion, two associates of CESCI were collecting information on legal and/or practical obstacles local actors are facing during their activities concerning the other side of the border, as well as good practices useful for bridging these problems.

The meeting was held on the 11th of February 2016 and attended by 7 participants in the following sectors and fields:

  • economic development: Csongrád County Chambers for Industry and Commerce
  • law enforcement: Csongrád County Directorate for Disaster Management
  • government sector: Csongrád County Government Offices
  • local government sector: Csongrád County Municipality Offices
  • cross-border cooperation, European grouping for territorial cooperation: DKMT Euroregion, Banat-Triplex Confinium EGTC

Since their accession to the EU, border crossing between Romania and Hungary has become significantly easier. Yet, border crossing infrastructure is still lagging behind (crossing points are scarce), as is cross-border public transport. The functionality of institutionalised cross-border cooperation is hindered by many an administrative obstacle, primarily on the Romanian side. Cross-border state financed health care has not evolved due to the lack of cooperation between health insurance companies, even though the DKMT EGTC did have an initiative on the matter (the regional health insurance card). Another issue is that as a result of differences in health care quality in the two countries, Romanian patients often call on premium services on the Hungarian side of the border (e.g. separate room for child birth), which causes problems for Hungarian patients.

Cross-border entrepreneurship activity is not common, due to actors’ lack of information, even though there have been good practices aimed at resolving this issue. There is exemplary, well-organised cooperation among regional disaster management bodies, however – mainly because of the problematic physical connections –, relations between universities are missing out on certain opportunities.

The representative of the EGTC reported on anomalies related to bank account management on the Romanian side, and uncommon legal labour-mobility was also mentioned.