Europe & SaarLorLux
Saarland has always seen itself as the "pacesetter" in terms of cooperation and cohesiveness within the European Greater SaarLorLux Region, which also includes its neighbours in Rhineland-Palatinate and the German-speaking communities in Belgium and Wallonia. The entire Greater Region covers a total area of 65,400 square kilometres bounded by the Rhine, Moselle, Saar and Maas rivers. But also the European policy plays a prominent role in Saarland. The promotion of European unity and cross-border cooperation are issues of constitutional status which are firmly embedded in politics and society.
This is heart of the Greater Region
Saarland has always seen itself as the "pacesetter" in terms of cooperation and cohesiveness within the European Greater SaarLorLux Region, which also includes its neighbours in Rhineland-Palatinate and the German-speaking communities in Belgium and Wallonia. The entire Greater Region covers a total area of 65,400 square kilometres bounded by the Rhine, Moselle, Saar and Maas rivers. The proximity of European centres such as Paris, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Brussels and Frankfurt fosters international business relationships and also provides attractive promotion and further education opportunities for workers. It makes the region one of the most mobile labour markets in Europe. This is also reflected in the many thousands of cross-border commuters who cross what are now barely visible national frontiers to get to work every day.
Well-connected in the heart of Europe
The region's early industrialisation fostered an openness to the rest of Germany and to neighbouring countries. The high quality road and rail network facilitates Europe-wide encounters and business relationships. Germany's quickest direct rail connection to Paris is important in this respect: from Saarbrücken's Eurobahnhof the high-speed ICE reaches France's internationally important capital city in under two hours, and things are also on track for Saarland in the years ahead. That's because this area is and always will be well-connected. Local transport connections make short journeys quick and easy. It's just as quick to get to Luxembourg or Alsace-Lorraine by bus and train. Anyone who wants to go further afield can set off to explore the world from the international airport at Saarbrücken or the nearby Luxembourg or Frankfurt airports.
SaarLorLux cross-border cooperation
SaarLorLux politics goes back a long way in Saarland, but it is still a new task every day: state politicians work hard to simplify everyday cross-border contacts for local people. By doing this, Saarland and its neighbours, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Wallonia make an distinctive contribution to European cohesion, because it's in its border regions that Europe is moving closer together!
Since the 1950s close cross-border relationships encompassing economics, politics, culture, research and civil society have been established in the five sub-regions. Since 1995 the most senior government representatives of the partner regions have met up regularly for the "Greater Region Summit". This is a significant task for the whole Greater SaarLorLux Region. The summit sets the guidelines for inter-regional policies.
Its business and information centre is the "Haus der Großregion" ("Greater Region Offices") in Luxembourg, which also house the summit secretariat. The "Greater Region Summit" receives advice not only from its own working groups at civil servant level but also from bodies such as an independent economic and social committee where business and social partners regularly meet and devise recommendations which are passed on to the summit.
Members of parliament from all the sub-regions come together for meetings in the Interregionaler Parlamentarierrat (IPR) (Interregional Parliamentary Council), and they pass their queries and recommendations on to the summit. However, things are also very well organised at local authority level: local authority issues are for instance pooled in "Eurodistricts" such as the newly established "SaarMoselle Eurodistrict", the "QuattroPole" city network, or the "EuRegio SaarLorLux+" local authorities association. Trade unions and professional associations as well as universities operate on an inter-regional basis. The latter offer integrated courses with joint degrees; the "University of the Greater Region" acts as an umbrella association supporting the mobility aspirations of students and academic staff.
The Greater Region also acts as a single unit on a wider stage, and above all it takes positions on European issues based on its experience as a border region. For instance, the "Interregional Group" within the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) was formed at the initiative of Saarland's Prime Minister, Peter Müller. The Interregional Group is chaired by the CoR member whose country or region chairs the summit.
European policy plays a prominent role in Saarland. The promotion of European unity and cross-border cooperation are issues of constitutional status which are firmly embedded in politics and society.
Saarland's representative office in Brussels opened on 1st July 1985 and it acts as a link between the institutions of the European Union and Saarland. The representative office promotes regional interests in the European institutions' decision-making processes. The new building where the employees of Saarland's representative office cooperate with their colleagues from three French regions in a joint partnership office is situated at Rue du Luxembourg 15, close to the European Parliament and the European Commission. The art nouveau listed building has four storeys, a basement and an internal courtyard that can also be used for hosting events.