Lazos-Liens-Loturak: Taking a cross-border approach to helping young people in the Pyrenees

Lazos-Liens-Loturak brought together six associations to improve education and training, as well as social inclusion for vulnerable young people. Through cross-border territorial cooperation, new insights were gained in the provision of services and support for young people, particularly those in difficulty. More than 350 young people were involved in exchanges and more than 100 professionals were involved in the project.

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Cross-border exchanges of young people and vulnerable adolescents through joint activities © Asociación Navarra Nuevo Futuro Cross-border exchanges of young people and vulnerable adolescents through joint activities © Asociación Navarra Nuevo Futuro

" We have continued to develop small actions together with its own funds and have created a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG). Now we want to convince the relevant authorities to create cross-border services and stable proposals to enrich our educational proposals and make them more efficient. "

Jon Esquina Echevarria, Asociación Navarra Neuvo Futuro

The project had three key objectives. Firstly, it aimed to improve the education and social links of young people, specifically more vulnerable adolescents. Secondly, it involved social workers exchanging their approaches to similar issues. Finally, the exchange of best practice and the cross-border exchanges of young people led to common methodologies and the implementation of joint training for professionals.

Society is changing quickly and young people in particular are feeling excluded and less optimistic about their future. Before now, project authorities were using very different instruments to deal with similar problems. By working together, more imaginative solutions could be found. In the exchanges, young people were able to meet peers who were also struggling with the same problems. By looking at issues together, there was a strong feeling of empowerment and recognition that they were not alone. Instead of looking inwards, by looking outwards, in particular by working across geographical borders, young people and professionals were able to look at ways of working together and improving cultural understanding.

Cross-border construction

Cross-border territorial cooperation was central to the success of the project. Cooperation became an area in which professionals and young people were able to step away from their local concerns and establish a privileged area for both education and cultural exchange. The national border was in fact the opposite of being a barrier to understanding, as it provided a way to allow a deeper and richer understanding of the concerns and issues faced by today’s youth.

Since the end of the project, authorities have continued to work together to create common activities, further exchanges and continue professional cooperation. There is also much potential for economic opportunities for young people and the development of joint socio-educational services.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Lazos-Liens-Loturak” was EUR 536 213, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 348 538 from the Operational Programme “Interreg IV A - France - Spain - Andorra” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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