The member States of the Council of Europe, signatories to this Convention,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members and to promote co-operation between them;
Considering that, as defined in Article 1 of the Council of Europe Statute, this aim will be pursued in particular by agreements in the administrative field;
Considering that the Council of Europe shall ensure the participation of the territorial communities or authorities of Europe in the achievement of its aim;
Considering the potential importance, for the pursuit of this objective, of co-operation between territorial communities or authorities at frontiers in such fields as regional, urban and rural development, environmental protection, the improvement of public facilities and services and mutual assistance in emergencies;
Having regard to past experience which shows that co-operation between local and regional authorities in Europe makes it easier for them to carry out their tasks effectively and contributes in particular to the improvement and development of frontier regions;
Being resolved to promote such co-operation as far as possible and to contribute in this way to the economic and social progress of frontier regions and to the spirit of fellowship which unites the peoples of Europe,
Have agreed as follows:
Each Contracting Party undertakes to facilitate and foster transfrontier co-operation between territorial communities or authorities within its jurisdiction and territorial communities or authorities within the jurisdiction of other Contracting Parties. It shall endeavour to promote the conclusion of any agreements and arrangements that may prove necessary for this purpose with due regard to the different constitutional provisions of each Party.
- For the purpose of this Convention, transfrontier co-operation shall mean any concerted action designed to reinforce and foster neighbourly relations between territorial communities or authorities within the jurisdiction of two or more Contracting Parties and the conclusion of any agreement and arrangement necessary for this purpose. Transfrontier co-operation shall take place in the framework of territorial communities’ or authorities’ powers as defined in domestic law. The scope and nature of such powers shall not be altered by this Convention.
- For the purpose of this Convention, the expression “territorial communities or authorities” shall mean communities, authorities or bodies exercising local and regional functions and regarded as such under the domestic law of each State. However, each Contracting Party may, at the time of signing this Convention or by subsequent notification to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, name the communities, authorities or bodies, subjects and forms to which it intends to confine the scope of the Convention or which it intends to exclude from its scope.
- For the purpose of this Convention the Contracting Parties shall, subject to the provisions of Article 2, paragraph 2, encourage any initiative by territorial communities and authorities inspired by the outline arrangements between territorial communities and authorities drawn up in the Council of Europe. If they judge necessary they may take into consideration the bilateral or multilateral inter-state model agreements drawn up in the Council of Europe and designed to facilitate co-operation between territorial communities and authorities.The arrangements and agreements concluded may be based on the model and outline agreements, statutes and contracts appended to this Convention, numbered 1.1 to 1.5 and 2.1 to 2.6 with whatever changes are required by the particular situation of each Contracting Party. (1) These model and outline agreements, statutes and contracts are intended for guidance only and have no treaty value.
- If the Contracting Parties deem it necessary to conclude inter-state agreements, these may inter alia establish the context, forms and limits within which territorial communities and authorities concerned with transfrontier co-operation may act. Each agreement may also stipulate the authorities or bodies to which it applies.
- The above provisions shall not prevent the Contracting Parties from having recourse, by common consent, to other forms of transfrontier co-operation. Similarly, the provisions of this Convention should not be interpreted as invalidating existing agreements on co-operation.
- Agreements and arrangements shall be concluded with due regard to the jurisdiction provided for by the internal law of each Contracting Party in respect of international relations and general policy and to any rules of control or supervision to which territorial communities or authorities may be subject.
- To that end, any Contracting Party may, when signing the present Convention or in a later communication to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, specify the authorities competent under its domestic law to exercise control or supervision with regard to the territorial communities and authorities concerned.
Each Contracting Party shall endeavour to resolve any legal, administrative or technical difficulties liable to hamper the development and smooth running of transfrontier co-operation and shall consult with the other Contracting Party or Parties concerned to the extent required.
The Contracting Parties shall consider the advisability of granting to territorial communities or authorities engaging in transfrontier co-operation in accordance with the provisions of this Convention the same facilities as if they were co-operating at national level.
Each Contracting Party shall supply to the fullest possible extent any information requested by another Contracting Party in order to facilitate the performance by the latter of its obligations under this Convention.
Each Contracting Party shall see to it that the territorial communities or authorities concerned are informed of the means of action open to them under this Convention.
- The Contracting Parties shall forward to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe all relevant information concerning the agreements and arrangements provided for in Article 3.
- Any proposal made by one or more Contracting Parties with a view to adding to or extending this Convention or the model agreements and arrangements shall be communicated to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General shall then submit it to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe which shall decide on the action to be taken.
- This Convention shall be open to signature by the member States of the Council of Europe. It shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- The Convention shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval, provided that at least two of the States having carried out this formality possess a common frontier.
- In respect of a signatory State ratifying, accepting or approving subsequently, the Convention shall come into force three months after the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.
- After the entry into force of this Convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may decide unanimously to invite any European non-member State to accede thereto. This invitation must receive the express agreement of each of the States which have ratified the Convention.
- Such accession shall be effected by depositing with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe an instrument of accession which shall take effect three months after the date of its deposit.
- Any Contracting Party may, in so far as it is concerned, denounce this Convention by means of notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- Such denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt by the Secretary General of such notification.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of the Council of Europe, and any State that has acceded to this Convention of:
- any signature;
- any deposit of an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession;
- any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Article 9 thereof;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 2 or of paragraph 5 of Article 3;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 11 and the date on which denunciation takes effect.
In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this Convention.
Done at Madrid, the 21st day of May 1980 in English and in French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies to each member State of the Council of Europe and to any State invited to accede to this Convention.