Why are we running this project? 

We advocate for sustainable democracy and rule of law in Germany and Europe, which enjoy the critical trust of their citizens. The foundation for this lies in a firmly embedded, living democratic culture at both municipal and regional level. Inclusive participation formats strengthen this foundation. Cross-border, local participation processes support openness and solidarity, engender tolerance for different (cultural) perspectives, and strengthen cohesion across borders.

What are our goals? 

The aim of the program is to contribute to the institutionalization of cross-border local citizen participation. In addition, the participating actors from both administration and civil society should network and learn from each other.

How does the project work? 

In its three-year pilot phase, the Common Ground: Shaping Regions Across Borders program will support the implementation of participation processes at local level in up to eight German border regions – trans-sectoral and cross-border. The focus is on regions that have had little experience with (cross-border) citizen participation to date. Within the framework of the program, regions are to develop and share needs-based formats for low-threshold participation. These formats must also reach people who have so far hardly felt addressed by politics. Following this pilot phase, selected border regions will receive further support in consolidating their participation structures. To this end, all projects funded in the pilot phase will be accompanied scientifically.

Who are the target groups? 

The program is aimed at both local authorities, e.g. municipalities and districts, as well as civil society organizations in border regions of Germany and its neighboring countries.

Where is the project run? 

Funding is provided for border regions in Germany and its neighboring countries. By this, we mean regions that fall on Germany’s borders and encompass areas both within Germany and the neighboring country or countries, that is to say they form a common border area.

Who organizes and supports the project?

We cooperate with the nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research to implement the program. The nexus Institute is responsible for coordinating the program. It is the point of contact for the selected regions and all interested parties, supports the selection of the regions, offers advice on the conceptual development and implementation of the participation processes, and organizes further training as well as the exchange of experience between the selected regions.