The Greater Region is located in the heart of Europe, on the road and railroad axis that links the Mediterranean region to the North Sea. Its 11.6 million inhabitants, spread over an area of 65,401 sq.km. (about the same size as Lithuania), generate a GDP of 390 billion euros (figure for 2017) – 2.5% of the overall GDP of the European Union.
With about 220,000 cross-border workers, the Greater Region is a model within Europe in terms of the free movement of people, goods and services.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the only sovereign state in this cross-border region, which includes:
- Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany;
- Lorraine in France;
- Wallonia and the German-speaking Community (known as Ostbelgien, i.e. 'eastern Belgium') in Belgium;
- Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The population of the Grand Duchy only accounts for 5% of the total population of this cross-border region, but it boasts the most dynamic growth and an open labour market, making the Grand Duchy the economic driving force of the Greater Region.
The idea at the heart of the project
The first Greater Region summit was held in Mondorf-les-Bains (in the Grand Duchy) in 1995. At that summit, the partner countries expressed their ambition to build an integrated area of cooperation in the service of its inhabitants, its economy, and its territory. The participants considered themselves testing grounds for the process of European integration.
Cooperation within the Greater Region focuses on the following main areas:
- mobility and territorial development;
- lifelong education and learning;
- tourism and culture;
- economy and competitiveness;
- society, citizenship and security;
- environment and sustainability;
Since 1995, Greater Region summits have been held regularly every 24 months; they are attended by representatives of each of the Greater Region's partners. The purpose of these meetings at the highest political level is to inject fresh momentum into cross-border and inter-regional cooperation within the Greater Region.
The partners serve in turn as presidents of the Greater Region, each for a period of 24 months.