The phase of acquainting
Zeal and enthusiasm were the characteristics at the beginning. During the conference, "Cooperation across the boarders in Baltic Region" organized by Council of the Baltic Sea States in Sweden in Karlskroona in March 1996, representatives of delegations from Aluksne, Võru, Põlva and Pihkva took the decision to undersign the agreement, stating multilateral interest to undertake actions between the countries of border regions, as well as form appropriate structures, following patterns of Euroregion.
On 7th of July 1996 in Põlva in Estonia an appeal was undersigned to endorse the Council of Cooperation was formed. Seven counterparts – Aluksne and Balvi regions from Latvia, Võru and Põlva counties from Estonia, Pskov, Palkino and Pechora regions from Russia. The multilaterally accepted constitution states the Council of Cooperation of the Boarder Areas as a voluntary union. Possible members are local governments and institutions of regional authorities.On 20th of Dec 1996 in Pechora (Russia) was undersigned a declaration, stating the basis of over boarder joint work, partnership and multilateral respect. With this declaration was determined the main aim of the Council- i.e. reinforce economical, social and cultural progress. Long –term objectives were put, mainly targeted for getting economical effects, as follows:
-development of Riga – St Petersburg transit;
-improvement infrastructure of motor-ways in the area;
-coordination in economical undertakings, emphasising good exchange over the boarder;
-supporting to create new united firms and united education centres. Realisation of these goals was highly important to all of the Councils' regions. But very soon were all partners aware, how much it is difficult to exercise upon these fields from the level of local particular regions – the border areas are very much dependant on international politics of these states: Russia, Latvia, Estonia. To make cooperation more effective seemed possible (this time as well as now) only accordingly to certain extent in particular fields, i. e. tourism, culture, sports, education.
In 1996.-1997. the members of Council learned about experience of Norway-Sweden boarder region ARKO in the framework of schooling, organized by well-experienced consulting firm Omnia Management AB, supported by SIDA. The seminars took part one by one in every country, plus summing up conference. During the conferences the problems of border regions were discussed and analyzed, trying to find solutions, generating ideas for joint projects.
In 1997 the emblem of the council was created.