Regional and Urban Policy

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In this issue
Highlights
Adoption of the first Interreg cooperation programmes for 2021-2027

The arrival of refugees does not have to be seen as a burden. On the contrary, it can trigger positive social and economic changes in a region, in particular when local communities get involved in welcoming them.

The Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme was among the first three, out of more than 300 cohesion policy programmes, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022. Historically, the centre of Europe suffered from economic disparities and Interreg is particularly well placed to build bridges between regions and people. Interreg will contribute to making the concerned regions more developed while implementing the EU green and digital transition.

In line with the EU priorities of a smart, green and inclusive Europe, the programmes approved are the ‘Interreg Central Europe', the ‘Interreg Austria - Germany (Bavaria)' and the ‘Interreg Germany (Bavaria) - Czechia'.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I am glad to see that the first Interreg programmes of the period 2021-2027 are now adopted. Cooperation is at the heart of the European project and Interreg is transforming this spirit into concrete actions on the ground. Interreg programmes illustrate the essence and strength of EU integration: by funding close cooperation in border regions in Central Europe, they help citizens living in these regions to tackle common challenges together, rather than having to face them in isolation.

All interested stakeholders in the concerned territories are invited to closely follow the upcoming calls for projects, which will be published on the programmes' websites.

For the programming period 2021-2027, the 6th generation of Interreg has a total budget of almost €10 billion.

Interreg is built around four strands: cross-border (Interreg A), transnational (Interreg B), interregional (Interreg C) and integration of Outermost Regions in their neighbouring environment (Interreg D).

Find out all of the videos of programmes adopted on EU in My Region Youtube Playlist

 
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EU Stands With Ukraine

After having suspended cooperation with Russia and Belarus, the Commission proposes to transfer €26.2 million from the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation instrument, originally planned for 2021-2027 Interreg NEXT programmes with Russia and Belarus, to the same programmes with Ukraine and Moldova.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Ukraine and Moldova are trusted partners of the EU and the EU is strongly committed to long term cooperation with them. Bringing people living on both sides of the external border of the EU closer to each other and strengthening the collaboration between EU regions and local stakeholders with Ukrainian and Moldovan partners is a concrete step to foster peace and security in the region.”

Concretely, this funding may support the development of health services, reinforce institutional capacity of the Ukrainian and Moldovan public authorities, develop education and research projects, or finance social inclusion schemes and job training programmes for refugees.

Following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and in line with the measures adopted by the EU, in March 2022 the Commission suspended cooperation with Russia and its ally Belarus in the European Neighbourhood Instrument cross-border cooperation programmes (ENI CBC) and in the Interreg Baltic Sea region programme.

As a result, four cross-border Interreg programmes involving Ukraine and Moldova, Hungary/Slovakia/Romania/Ukraine, Poland/Ukraine, Romania/Moldova, Romania/Ukraine - and two transnational programmes - the Danube Transnational Programme and Interreg NEXT Black Sea Basin - will benefit from 68% increased funding for the year 2022.

More info

 
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Youth4Cooperation : a REGIO flagship initiative for the European Year of Youth

This year, the European Commission breathes youth! 2022 is the European Year of Youth and on this occasion, the “Youth4Cooperation” initiative arose.

Together we are stronger is the moto of the European Union. It emphasizes the importance of cooperation between our regions but also with youth.

Young people of today are the builders of tomorrow's Europe. They are also an indispensable tool for regional cooperation, reconciliation and peacebuilding. It is therefore essential to empower them now and to deepen their involvement in shaping the future of EU cohesion policy.

To achieve this, Europe is striving to give young people more and better opportunities for the future. For instance, in 2020, a group of young Europeans contributed to the publication of the “Youth Manifesto”. The purpose was to identify how to involve young people in modelling their future within the scope of EU cohesion policy.

In this context and with a view to contributing to the European Year of Youth, the “Youth4Cooperation” initiative came into being. The objective is straightforward: gather all of the youth actions taking place in 2022; for both Interreg programmes (all strands) and Macro-Regional Strategies (MRS).

Concretely, Youth4Cooperation includes projects/actions involving youth of all ages and highlights the benefits cooperation brings to young people around Europe. The initiative already makes an impact on the ground through:

  • Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY)
  • Youth strategic initiatives in the 4 MRS
  • Youth involvement in cooperation events

More information

 
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Events
Save the date for Interreg Annual Event 2022

Save the date for Interreg Annual Event happening the 26-27-28 October 2022!

It is a pleasure to invite you to the hybrid Interreg Annual Event 2022, which will take place in Brussels, with the possibility to follow online, on 26, 27 and 28 October 2022.

The event aims at bringing together Managing Authorities; Joint Secretariats and the European Commission in order to discuss implementation of the Interreg programmes.

With 2022 being the European Year of Youth, this has generated a high level of interest in youth-related questions, strengthening Interreg programmes, projects and Macro-Regional Strategies actors’ commitment to better involve young people in the decision-making process.

One of the DG REGIO flagship initiatives is Youth4Cooperation and a full morning, on the 28th of October, will be dedicated to the achievements and advances of this initiative.

So, remember to save the date and join three days full of interesting engagements, workshops and debates!

Date
date 10/06/2022
 
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News
Youth getting involved: EUSALP Youth Council!

EUSALP Youth Council is nearly one year old and ready to start its second year of mandate!

Climate change, biodiversity and traffic congestion: the Alpine space is facing a multitude of challenges that require cooperation across the Alps. The Alpine regions are working on joint projects in the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) to make the Alpine space resilient and fit for the future. To future-proof their interventions, they are counting on the support of the next generation.

The EUSALP Youth Council consists of 28 members, four members from each Alpine country, who sit on the Youth Council for one year and can renew for another year. As an official EUSALP institution, it ensures that their ideas and viewpoints are heard and taken into account.

Members of the Youth Council get directly involved in the development of EUSALP policies and projects. They can propose concrete actions, topics and ideas to politicians from the EUSALP states and regions and raise awareness of the needs of young people in their regions at the European level.

The Youth Council meets four to five times per mandate and collaborates virtually throughout the year. Youth Council representatives also sit at the table in all EUSALP bodies. In the first Youth Council, which has been in office since July 2021 and will continue until July 1, 2022, the members developed proposals concerning sustainable mobility, youth initiative networks, and the future of peripheral Alpine regions and raised awareness of the natural and cultural heritage of the Alps.

The Youth Council is part of the project "youth.shaping.EUSALP", organized by the Tyrol and the European Commission and supported by the Italian EUSALP Presidency. In addition to the Youth Council, the project implements EUSALP youth camps in summer, online tools for youth participation and the project competition "Pitch your project", which will take place for the fifth time in 2022, to empower young people.

More information

 
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Adriatic Ionian Youth Organisations forum AI NURECC: Youth building a common vision for the future of the EUSAIR

In the framework of both the 7th EUSAIR Forum and the European Year of Youth, this conference was the opportunity to shed light on youth in the Adriatic Ionian region.

The Albanian EUSAIR presidency 2021/2022 had ‘youth’ as one of its priorities in Presidency activities, and has therefore also strengthened youth involvement in the Adriatic and Ionian region with several activities.

Involvement of youth and all-inclusiveness are key, not only in the EU but also in the Western Balkans. Indeed, youth can also support regional cooperation and therefore, close interplay of youth exchanges are planned between Western Balkans countries of Adriatic Ionian Initiative and EU countries.

During the Adriatic Ionian Youth Organisations forum – AI NURECC in Tirana, youth engagement in the EUSAIR and other topics related to youth issues in the region, such as the brain drain, were raised.

Mr Jean Pierre Halkin, DG REGIO, and Mr Ilir Melo, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, raised important points related to the brain drain, digitalization and sustainable transition, highlighting the need for a more concrete communication with young people in the EU and in the Western Balkans.

The panel was enriched by a presentation of opportunities in the whole European region for young people, managed by youth itself.

The EUSAIR will work towards the early creation and implementation of a Youth Council for the entire region, on the base of the other macro regional strategies’ Youth Councils.

 
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Countering climate change in mountainous areas

ARTACLIM project developing critical tools to help territorial planners tackle climate change in mountainous regions

This project was presented to the COP26 in Glasgow on 8 November 2021. Confronted by the significant climate change challenge in mountainous regions, Italian and French regions are seeking measures to adapt to global warming. However, none of the cross-border territories had successfully integrated climate adaption steps into their public policy tools due to lack of robust and proven analytical tools. ARTACLIM, with a budget of €1,775,145 (1,508,873 ERDF) was created with a view to developing tools and methodologies to enable greater consideration of climate change in territorial planning. The project has studied the vulnerabilities and weaknesses inherent in the mountainous regions along the Franco-Italian border, defined a set of climatic indicators and trained specialists in the field.

The project has led to improved skills among partners thanks to cross-border cooperation on the means to adapt to climate change. It has led to a much better understanding of the multiplicity of impacts engendered by climate change in mountainous regions. The project is enabling local authorities in mountainous regions to use robust and proven tools in order to carry out climate adaptation strategies and select activities that merit joint action. Most importantly, the project is developing management tools to follow-up and evaluate the climate adaptation steps undertaken by local authority partners.

By providing the skills and necessary tools, ARTACLIM will enable public bodies in the ALCOTRA programme area and beyond to develop concrete climate adaptation actions which will reduce territorial vulnerability while enhancing the resilience of the areas concerned.

 
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Open call for proposals addressing obstacles to cross-border cooperation

Interreg projects are sometimes not fully implemented because different laws apply to them in the neighbouring countries involved. The b-solutions initiative offers a way out thanks to the support of legal experts.

After having already identified 90 obstacles hindering cross-border cooperation, the European Commission and the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) have now launched a new call for proposals in the framework of the b-solutions 2.0 initiative. The call aims to find solutions to existing legal or administrative obstacles thanks to technical assistance to be received by the 120 selected cases.

Public authorities in border regions and cross-border structures are encouraged to submit an application informing about concrete situations they have encountered which prevented the implementation of a project across national borders.

The call for applications is open to participants located along EU or EFTA borders – this year including maritime borders and borders with Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, and Turkey.

Cases to be submitted shall address one of the four thematic areas b-solutions focuses on, namely:

1) Institutional cooperation across national borders

2) Cross-border public services

3) Cross-border labour markets and education

4) Border Regions for the European Green Deal

We invite Joint Secretariats and Managing Authorities, as well as beneficiaries of Interreg, to share this information in their networks to help partners and actors of cross-border cooperation to find solutions to legal or administrative obstacles hampering collaboration.

An interim selection of applications will take place on 30 June 2022, and a series of online info sessions in June will illustrate how to apply.

For more information and to access previous publications, visit https://www.b-solutionsproject.com/.

 
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#Youth4Coop : NEW 𝗗𝗔𝗡𝗨𝗕𝗘 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗧𝗛 𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗖𝗜𝗟 – APPLY NOW !

You are between 18 and 28 years old and passionate about international & transnational cooperation? You have ideas on how to shape the Danube Region and improve mobility, environmental protection, competitiveness, education and security in the Danube Region? Then APPLY NOW for the Danube Youth Council!

The involvement of present and future generations in the shaping of our societies is high on the political agenda on a local, regional, national and European level. In 2016, EU Leaders endorsed the need for action in support of youth in the Bratislava Roadmap. Since then, various EU policies and initiatives have aimed at giving leverage to young people in Europe.

In this context, the Danube Youth Council (DYC) shall provide a platform for institutional involvement of young people in all EUSDR bodies to make ideas and viewpoints of young people heard and considered at a political level.

The Danube Youth Council will be composed of 28 members, 2 members from each Danube Region country (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine). The members of the Youth Council may: propose concrete actions and projects and suggest topics for discussion; bring ideas to the attention of high-level politicians from EUSDR states and regions; contribute to EUSDR priorities and policies; raise awareness of the special features of their regions at the transnational level; participate in all EUSDR youth activities; participate in EUSDR events as well as international and EU related youth events

The Danube Youth Council will be supported financially by the European Commission and the City of Vienna and this financial support covers travel and accommodation costs of DYC members for meetings and events.

 
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Danube region calls for innovative projects

You can submit your Eureka Research&Development (R&D) project application for this call for projects until the 30 June 2022.

Eureka is the world’s biggest public network for international cooperation present in over 45 countries. It is a decentralised intergovernmental organisation aiming to boost the productivity and competitiveness of industries by funding and supporting international collaborative R&D projects.

EUREKA’s programmes are flexible and open to startups, SMEs, large companies, research organisations and universities.

EUREKA’s network can perfectly fit the needs of the European Union Macro Regional Strategies, creating a new space for countries and regions to collaborate together and create something new and unique.

With access to national public funding, ambitious international R&D projects can become achievable. Since 1985, EUREKA has given 48.4 billion euro to organisations, supporting the success of 7,496 R&D projects. Organisations applying to programmes have a high success rate in receiving funding with only minimal paperwork on applying. In addition, private investors recognise the value of companies that participate in our programmes.

EUREKA drives international collaboration, encouraging the development of new R&D and business relationships between countries and regions. International R&D projects experience a high quality of innovation, so why not take the next step towards combining expertise, exchanging knowledge, enhancing your resources and capabilities and reducing risks?

National authorities from the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region have allocated funding for organisations collaborating on international R&D projects. EUREKA R&D project application can be submitted for this call for projects between 1 March 20220 and 30 June 2022. Projects consortia must include organisations based in a minimum of two of following the countries listed, these being: Austria, Albania, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland and Slovakia.

 
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Bringing People together along the Rio Miño in Spain and Portugal

The Río Miño, now navigable for all: why not get to know the cities along the border between Galicia and Portugal?

Avid tourists now have the opportunity to visit the two Eurocities that surround the river Miño in a novel and unprecedented manner: the routes of the Rio Miño project are now open to all, offering a unique view of the historic quarters of four border cities.

Since 25 February 2022, the two Eurocities along the river Miño can be visited in an unprecedented manner: the routes which make up the Rio Miño project, a navigable destination, offer a unique view of the historical quarters of four border cities. The municipalities of Tui and Salvaterra de Miño, the cities of Valença and Monçao, with Tourism in Galicia and Puerto y Norte Tourism, have set up this programme, which is free of charge, with a view to giving exclusive views of the river between Spain and Portugal.

The starting point is the tourist offices in each municipality, which serves as a start for a tour that makes it possible to learn about Tui, Valença, Salvaterra and Monçao’s cultural and historical heritage, enjoy their gastronomy and shopping. There are eight hours of activities during which a tourist train links the historic quarters and the boats’ docking stations.

Tourists can make their reservations at www.hemisferios.org or by telephone (+ 34) 620 900 265. Each route includes a guided trip by historical theme, transport by tourist train and boat (only the meal, which is borne by each participant) is included. Each journey has a minimum participation of 7 persons and a maximum of 15.

In total, six routes are offered with an estimated starting time at 10: 00. There will be four short routes between Tui-Valença, Valença-Tui, Salvaterra-Monçao and Monçao-Salvaterra.

The Rio Miño project, a navigable destination, is carried out under the Interreg V-A Spain-Portugal programme (Poctep) and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

 
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Crop growers now have the opportunity to measure the nutritious quality of their produce, providing real health benefits to consumers

Crop growers now have the opportunity to measure the nutritious quality of their produce, providing real health benefits to consumers

The Euroregio Maas Rhine European cross-border programme is helping European companies and knowledge institutes to develop a biosensor, which growers can use to measure their fruit and vegetables' vitamin content. The research is part of the Interreg project ‘Food Screening EMR’, which involves partners from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Fruit and vegetable farmers will be able not only to measure but also to increase the nutritional value of their crops through state-of-the-art techniques and cultivation methods being developed by the EMR-funded project.

The University of Maastricht (the Netherlands), Aachen University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and the Universities of Liège and Hasselt (Belgium) have come together to work on modifying a bio-sensor which was initially developed to detect drugs but which will now be used to detect vitamins in crops. While it is technically to do so using current technology, it is prohibitively expensive for most crop growers. Using a cheaper sensor would enable growers to routinely measure the nutritional value of their crops and help them to determine in a routine manner the correct cultivation methods to maximise the vitamin content of their produce. These prestigious universities are accompanied by software developers closely cooperating on a cross-border basis in a part of the European Union renowned for both the quality and significance of its horticultural output.

More information on this project can be found on the following link from hortidaily.com

https://www.hortidaily.com/articl e/9392072/growers-could-measure-fruit-and-vegetable-vitamin-content-themselves/

 
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Interreg Central Europe develops a new information page for refugees

The arrival of refugees does not have to be seen as a burden. On the contrary, it can trigger positive social and economic changes in a region, in particular when local communities get involved in welcoming them.

Interreg Central Europe projects have designed solutions that help regions and cities to create a welcoming environment for migrants and refugees. Specific tools, schemes, and processes have been created to help individuals adapt to their new environment and to thrive in their new communities.

Across the programme area, local and regional authorities are supporting new arrivals and they often face similar challenges in doing so. Replicable outputs of the projects include social inclusion schemes for refugees, professional training for entrepreneurs with a migrant background, and skills development measures for refugee women to facilitate their integration into the labour market.

These projects focus on entrepreneurship support, crowdfunding as a financial instrument for fostering business creation as well as on raising innovation potentials of SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) in the food sector. In addition, funded projects aim to introduce service innovation and a novel qualification programme for advanced manufacturing, integrating responsible innovation into SME business models and the governance framework as well as supporting business succession of family businesses. For more information and to discover the projects visit:

We help CENTRAL EUROPE to welcome refugees - Interreg (interreg-central.eu)

 
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Tiger tidal wave project achieves significant milestones

Favourable winds blowing for Interreg’s largest project

TIGER (Tiger Stream Industry Energiser), Interreg’s largest project to date, is an ambitious €45.4m tidal energy project, of which €29.9m (66%) comes from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel/Manche) England Programme. The TIGER project was launched in October 2019 and will be completed in 2023.

The major milestone achieved by TIGER at the end of 2021 was the completion of testing of a 1 MegaWatt tidal turbine at the Paimpol-Bréhat (Brittany) site in September 2021. TIGER had been supporting French tidal developer HydroQuest, who operated their Oceanquest device installed at Paimpol-Bréhat between 2019 and 2021. Initially scheduled to last one year, funding from the TIGER project supported a further year extension to make the most of the experiment.

TIGER also supported the signature of a new Memorandum of Understanding signed by the French Renewable Energies Trade Association and the UK Marine Energy Council. This agreement further strengthens the Franco-British cooperation kick-started by TIGER and lays the groundwork for continued common initiatives across the Channel, long after the end of the project. Through this agreement, the two partners formally commit to sharing intelligence, best practice and jointly collaborating on key actions in the field of renewable marine energies.

More information on these achievements can be found here. In addition to this, the Isle of Wight Council granted in December 2021 planning permission for the onshore elements of the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC), England’s first multi megawatt tidal stream power generation project. This is another great achievement for our project TIGER which supports PTEC in its mission to harness tidal power off the Isle of Wight. You can read more on TIGER’s website here. You can also watch a great video on the initiative here.

Since the beginning of this year, measurement operations have been underway at the Raz Blanchard site in Normandy – set to become a pilot farm for tidal turbines in 2025. Data from the flow measurement devices which have been deployed thanks to the support of TIGER will be used to refine the design of the turbines which will be installed at the Raz Blanchard site. More details can be found here.

 
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Come sail along the east Baltic - Estonia and Latvia team up to improve network of small harbours

Two projects have financed the improvement of 23 small harbours along the Estonian and Latvian coast to form a joint tourism sailing route

Part of Europe’s maritime history for centuries, the Estonian and Latvian coasts have succeeded in maintaining their Hanseatic charm, preserving their natural landscape and cultural heritage while developing a confident, modern and forward-looking economy.

The diverse shoreline of the East Baltic Coast is washed by the mighty waves from the open sea in Kurzeme which meet the calmer waters of the Gulf of Rīga and the Gulf of Finland. It really does not matter if you are looking for a white sandy or rocky beach, or would like to sail around islands – you will find it all here. Sailing in the East Baltic means discovering the picturesque fishing villages, multiple areas untouched by civilisation, imposing port cities, the vibrant capitals of Tallinn and Riga, as well as popular resort towns and their gourmet restaurants. And, a pleasant and safe stay in well-equipped and modern marinas.

Why not discover the modern network of small harbours which offer excellent services to sailing enthusiasts. https://www.eastbaltic.eu/useful-info/video/

The Interreg Estonia-Latvia programme has supported the improvement and promotion of the East Baltic Coast small harbours network on the western coast of Latvia and around the Gulf of Riga, including the islands of Estonia through a total investment of around € 12 million.

 
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How digital tools brought people together during pandemic

POCTEP Interreg programme strengthens cooperation when most needed

The Community Groups set up between Castilla y León in Spain and the Portuguese regions of the North and Centre to promote and improve cross-border cooperation, further strengthened their collaboration during the Covid-19 pandemic by launching new initiatives to enhance cooperation and communication.

In 2020, a state of emergency was declared in both Spain and Portugal due to Covid-19. In addition to strictly enforced lockdowns, controls were re-established at the border between Spain and Portugal, which prevented the free movement of people between both countries. These measures affected the fluidity of contacts between citizens and institutions on both sides of the border.

In order not to compromise the good work undertaken in this cross-border region where the importance of open borders has been long understood, resources were made available to enhance cooperation. To interact with citizens, new forms of communication, in particular digital communication were used with a view to promoting cooperation and enhancing exchanges.

The “Espacio Fronteira” YouTube channel the channel for cross-border cooperation between the regions of Castile and Leon and the North and Centre of Portugal was launched, This represents the official communication channel of the Community Groups that these three regions have set up among themselves: Norte-Castilla y León (NORCYL) and Centro-Castilla y León (CENCYL). The channel offers a diet of current affairs, reports of interest and live broadcasts. It is a free channel whose contents are financed by the POCTEP Interreg Programme and the ERDF.

On the other hand, the blog "Espacio Fronteira" (“Frontier Area” Blog) has been created, focusing on the Spanish-Portuguese border shared by the regions of Castile and Leon, North and Central Portugal. The blog has several sections: news, opinion, library, audio and video library.

 
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ORHI: Towards a circular economy in the agri-food sector

Involving French and Spanish partners based around the Pyrenees, the ORHI project has contributed to the development of a circular economy in the agro-food sector.

Involving French and Spanish partners based around the Pyrenees, the ORHI project, a REGIOSTARS finalist in 2021, has contributed to the development of a circular economy in the agri-food sector. Through research in the project area and countries including Japan, and visits to exhibitions, ORHI identified commercially available methods for using organic and plastic waste generated at all stages of food production. This has led to the compilation of two catalogues: one containing solutions for use of by-products, the other detailing circular business models.

ORHI began by determining the main obstacles to the creation of a circular economy, before identifying potentially useful technologies and disseminating information among businesses. With support from the partners, seven organisations have already implemented ORHI’s solutions and testing is at an advanced stage in a further four.

Research into the use of a ‘nanobubble’ generator to accelerate the growth of cultures and prevent crop diseases, was conducted by Neiker – the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development. This technology could be transferred to hydroponic urban farming, in which plants are cultivated using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent, rather than soil.

Similarly, the Truite de Banka fish farm has integrated aquaponics into its processes, allowing waste water from the farm to irrigate plants grown on-site. It is expected that nanobubble technology will soon be used in fish farms in the region.

A collaboration between rural development association, ARDEAR and technology centre, APESA put an anaerobic digestion unit into operation on a farm to turn agricultural waste into biogas. Industrial firm, MCube set up small anaerobic digestion plants on another four farms and in a food processing company, enabling them to transform their organic by-products into energy.

 
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Publication
Sarg’coop- Cooperation Programme against the Sargassum seaweed

Sargassum seaweed invasion on the Caribbean islands’ shores is a real issue for the region! To overcome this, hand-in-hand with the Region of Guadeloupe, Interreg has financed the Sarg’coop programme.

Since 2014, many islands and countries from the Caribbean have experienced massive stranding of Sargassum seaweed on their shores. These deposits endanger coastal ecosystems, poison wildlife and the environment, and threaten human activities and health.

In spite of these negative impacts, we can see on the one hand that in high altitude seas, Sargassum serves as a refuge for migratory species. On the other hand, some companies have discovered ways to economically exploit seaweed, resulting in the creation of new activities and jobs.

This is why, in order to organize a global and concerted strategy, Interreg has financed a “Caribbean Program on Sargassum” called Sarg’coop. Led by the Region of Guadeloupe, this programme aims, for instance, at improving the pooling of knowledge and scientific research, know-how and experiments in the countries affected by this phenomenon.

Therefore, the Sarg’coop program intended to strengthen cooperation on the protection of natural environments among Caribbean stakeholders such as the regional authorities of Martinique, Guyana and Saint-Martin or the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Trinidad and Tobago.

The programme is divided into several interconnected subprograms. There are distributed as follows:

  • Research and development
  • Knowledge and information related to the phenomenon
  • Monitoring and prevention
  • The internationalisation actions of the Caribbean Sargassum Program.

The Sargassum issue in the Caribbean is taken very seriously. In this context, the Guadeloupe Region and the French authorities decided to organize, in October 2019, an international conference dedicated to Sargassum.

Furthermore, a Sargassum Day will probably be organized in the Dominican Republic, as part of the regional climate week at the end of July 2022.

 
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Major European Commission-AEBR study on patient mobility published

Joint Commission AEBR study aims to provide overview of cross border patient mobility and reimbursement systems in selected EU Regions

This study aims to provide an overview of cross-border patient mobility and the reimbursement systems used for planned health care treatment in selected EU Regions, in order to complement data on cross-border healthcare collected for the purposes of Directive 2011/24/EU and the Social Security Coordination Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009.

Four case studies of cross border patient flows in selected EU Regions were carried out. The case studies focused on the Meuse Rhein region (DE/BE/NL), the Grand Est region of France (FR)-Luxembourg, Lower Austria/Bohemia/Slovakia (AT/CZ/SK), and general patient flows between Poland and the Czech Republic. The methodology involved a literature review, baseline data analysis, stakeholder mapping (over 200 respondents), qualitative focus groups/interviews and quantitative data analysis.

The study finds that current patient mobility data lacks consistency and is often purely financial in nature; moreover some Member States support little or no data. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that good data is an essential enabler for well-functioning EU health systems and underpins a legal commitment of Member States and the EU to supporting patient rights in cross-border healthcare.

Study recommendations include strategic approaches to improve cross-border patient mobility and data collection that involve Member States, healthcare insurers, regional and subnational stakeholders.

The study presents specific findings in relation to geographical case study areas which focus on how patient mobility data is collected currently and how it might be useful in the future. The study also presents case study findings reflecting the qualitative conditions and future potential for cross-border patient mobility in the case study regions.

The study underlines the importance, in particular in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic of good quality data in the effective functioning of healthcare systems both domestically and across borders.

The study has made 9 recommendations based on a full analysis of all qualitative and quantitative findings on data collection and the wider conditions for patient mobility in the case study regions in which data collection is located and which are the key influencing factors for cross-border patient mobility. The Report’s recommendations relate to patient mobility data collection and conditions for cross-border patient mobility and more widely to the role of cross-border regions as laboratories for innovative collaboration in healthcare. The final chapter of the report identifies the stakeholders who need to be involved in implementation at multiple levels (EU, Member State, subnational and regional cross border).

Please see below link to study:

https://ec.europa.eu/health/publications/cross-border-patient-mobility-selected-eu-regions_en

 
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Reports
Interact Workshop: Exploring Synergies between Interreg IPA and IPA-IPA programmes

For the first time, Interreg IPA programmes and IPA programmes met to discuss the funding synergies in the Adriatic and Ionian sea Region.

As part of the EUSAIR, IPA countries, namely -Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, San Marino and Serbia, and EU member states - Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia - are cooperating on an equal footing. The main aim of the EUSAIR is to decide on a joint strategic planning, a willingness to pool resources, to share knowledge and experiences, with the necessary administrative capacity and supporting instruments.

Therefore, the event brought together representatives from both Interreg IPA and IPA-IPA programmes (IPA III financing instrument 2021-2027) to identify areas of interest, such as climate change, tourism and cultural sector development or youth, for better funding synergies in the EUSAIR.

Background info :

From January 2007 onwards, IPA has replaced a series of European Union programmes and financial instruments for candidate countries or potential candidate countries, namely PHARE, PHARE CBC, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and the financial instrument for Turkey. In this regard, it has become a new and valuable instrument for socio-economic growth and improving quality of life by bringing positive impacts on people, society, nations and regions. The IPA, as well, has enhanced the accession process in the Western Balkan by making it more effective and credible.

For more information, visit Interact website.

Date
date 10/06/2022
 
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The Albanian Presidency of EUSAIR comes to an end in Tirana!

From the 16th to the 18th of May the 7th EUSAIR Forum took place in Tirana, Albania.

“Now more than ever is the moment to cooperate, to get together, to join forces and to be stronger against external dangers. We need to use all tools we have at our disposal to alleviate the consequences of current multiple crises and to build a common better future for all European citizens.” These were the words spoken by Commissioner Elisa Ferreira at the opening ceremony of the 7th EUSAIR Forum in Tirana.

For the first time, after two consecutive EUSAIR Annual Fora (2020-2021) organized online, stakeholders were invited to participate in person. This year’s Forum came at a particularly delicate moment because of external geopolitical factors that have an influence in the region.

Against this backdrop, the Albanian Presidency selected the following priorities for the Annual Forum: Youth participation, Sustainable Tourism and Enlargement.

Several panels, debates and side events fulfilled the three days of the forum, bringing together people from all the ten participating countries.

Blue Growth, Energy transition, Agri-food system transformation, Green Deal and Youth Business were just some of the many topics explored through the Forum.

With the end of the Albanian Presidency, Bosnia- Herzegovina will be the next country holding the presidency of the strategy, having the important role of identifying and creating cooperation towards the accomplishment of the new priorities for the whole region

 
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Stories from IVY
Volunteering abroad and youth develop life skills; Wiktoria’s story

Wiktoria tells us about the great opportunity she had thanks to the Interreg ADRION volunteer program and how this experience has helped her create a link between her academic background and future professional life.

Young people were particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were forced to take a break from regular classes at school and university and many temporary jobs were put on hold. 2022 is the European Year of Youth and a great moment to celebrate youth and help young people overcome this hard period.

Wiktoria, 25 years old, from Poland, had the opportunity to start her 2022 in the right way being a volunteer for the Interreg Adrion program. Once she had finished her Master Degree in Tourism, Wiktoria did not know exactly what would have been the best step to take next. Not long after, she learnt about the European Solidarity Corps and about ADRION’S PRONACUL project, cooperating with the local cultural and tourism centre in Trbovlje, Slovenia.

Wiktoria is currently in Trbovlje and enjoying her time very much. She has developed her interests and skills by working in the tourism department, she has learned about a lot about marketing and has interacted with programs and event organizations.

Thanks to this opportunity, Wiktoria improved her language skills, met new people, made new friends and she developed skills in her professional area, which will be very important for future job opportunities.

Learn more about Wiktoria’s story here and about the ADRION Program here.

 
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Roxana Balan’s Mondragón experience as an IVY Volunteer

An IVY volunteer at AURA-EE, Roxana contributes to cooperation for renewable energy with great enthusiasm. As AURA-EE is preparing the last partner’s meeting, she is thoroughly motivated to put the necessary work in order to make it a successful and inspiring event.

Roxana has just finished her European Affairs Master’s Degree in Lille. To have a professional experience within the European projects field, she applied for a volunteering experience with the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) programme. A project with a rather quirky name drew her attention: SHREC. “It is funded by Interreg Europe and it revolves around good practices related to renewable energy. It is a topic that I’ve come to get more and more interested in since the Green Deal and the push to rethink our future in a more sustainable manner” she explains.

Roxana is hosted by AURA-EE, a regional energy and environment agency located near Lyon, where she is involved in the Interreg SHREC project. She has recently attended the partner’s regional meeting in Arrasate/Mondragon. “I listened to one of the most interesting presentations I ever heard about “The Mondragón experience” and how workers there created one of the largest and most significant experiences of co-operative organizations and workers’ self-management. I am surrounded by European professionals from 9 countries and they are all eager to ask our speaker about the renewable energies cooperatives and citizens engagement in becoming shareholders of the cooperative they work in” – she tells excitingly.

I can’t stop thinking about the inspiring projects and people we met in Mondragon, be they partners, stakeholders, or ordinary Arrasate citizens” says Roxana.

Her IVY experience made her understand how partners of a project organise and discuss together their own progress, mutual problems and possible solutions – and she is enjoying it.

 
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