The Arc Manche is a geographical area made up of the British and French territories bordering or within the English Channel.
Since 2003 the Arc Manche has also become a political project resting on an informal and voluntary network of local authorities which can use the network to share best practices, coordinate initiatives and pull together project ideas to draw in EU funding,
In October 2005 the Arc Manche Assembly was created to improve the visibility of the network.
A geographical area with specificities
The English Channel is one of the busiest maritime thoroughfares in the world and it has strong characteristics :
- a gateway to Europe;
- a maritime canal between the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea;
- an area of interacting and overlapping economic, environmental and logistical activities producing a concentration of maritime opportunities and risks;
- a vital thoroughfare for high volumes of people and goods;
- an area that promotes European integration and exchange between the UK, France and the rest of continental Europe.
A relevant area for territorial co-operation
Conscious that an effective organisation is valuable to protect the interests of the Channel area and to lead concrete actions, local authorities from both side of the Channel decided on 18 October 2005 to create the Arc Manche Assembly and to adopt common standards.
Not content to work behind closed doors, through the "Arc Manche Conferences",Arc Manche Assembly members want to promote a forum for reflection, exchange of views and debate on all questions relating to the pursuit of the development of Franco-British partnerships.
Indeed, Arc Manche is concerned with and active on issues such as transport, port development and maritime safety, innovation, preservation of natural and coastal environments, achieving a balance between economic and environmental interests and taking advantage of the position of the Channel in Europe.