INTERREG IVC: hidden behind this abstract expression is an EU programme dedicated to financing concrete regional initiatives throughout Europe for the well-being of their citizens. How many people living in Alsace-F or Baden-Württemberg-D know that the pedestrian bridge linking Strasbourg and Kehl was an Interreg-funded project? Such examples are abundant in Europe and illustrate how the regions use European funds in practice.
Before achieving such outcomes, however, we first need to have ideas, mount project proposals and find partners. It is in this spirit that 150 local and regional actors from 75 regions and 18 countries, met today in Strasbourg for a partnership fair organised by the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and the Alsace Region. Here are some practical examples of the project proposals that were presented:
“More” Project: The 75 signatory regions of the “Declaration* of the European Regions on energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources” are committed to specific objectives and action plans. This project will now measure the progress towards achieving these, by way of a common IT-based evaluation tool. This project showcases the regions’ will to anticipate their citizens’ wishes, who are clearly in favour of clean and renewable energies.
Preventing Floods: Floods, a challenge common to many European regions, can be avoided, for example by the maintenance of river beds which will lead to better management of flood zones next to rivers and lakes. It is essential not only to respond very quickly in case of a flood, but also and most importantly!- to take as many prevention measures as possible. Regions built networks for developing common contingency plans and communication tools and pooling their resources.
Cultural heritage Network: the diversity of cultural heritage is under threat of extinction, due to a lack of expertise and resources. A region’s image is closely linked to its cultural heritage, which in turn nurtures a feeling of pride and belonging among its citizens. 12 regions built a network to identify and exchange innovative strategies for preserving their cultural heritage, traditions and identity.
By the end of the day, some fifteen projects were developed. The participating regions are now ready to respond to the upcoming EU call for proposals in September, for a programme which will amount to 321 million Euros for 2007-2013.
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