Exchanging know-how and transferring experience am.. (CHANGE ON BORDERS)
Exchanging know-how and transferring experience among border regions in Europe
(CHANGE ON BORDERS)
Start date: Oct 31, 2003,
End date: Dec 30, 2007
Since 1990, the EU has provided financial support for internal and external cross-border cooperation, helping to establish cross-border programme structures and to implement numerous cross-border projects along the EU’s internal and external borders. Despite the progress made, there are still a large number of cross-border problems, especially along the current (and future) external borders of the EU. EU initiatives demonstrate the potential for improving the quality of strategic and project-based cooperation, but can fall short at the cross-border level. This is increasingly relevant in terms of EU enlargement as cross-border cooperation in these areas is still in its infancy. The overall goal of the operation is to help dismantle borders and border-like barriers in Europe by stimulating new cooperation opportunities between public institutions, local businesses and residents of border regions. The exchange of experience and the dissemination of best practice, particularly in the border regions of the enlarged Europe, will build on the results of existing funding opportunities and assist in the elaboration of new policy approaches and cross-border projects. Achievements: Achievements so far The Regional Framework Operation 'Change on Borders' has been formally approved by the INTERREG IIIC Steering Committee in September 2003. It brings together 25 regional authorities from 15 countries all over Europe and due to this size it was a challenging and ambitious project as such. For the partners of 'Change on Borders', removing legal and social barriers between the EU-Member States is an essential part of promoting the economic and cultural development of regions situated at Europe’s borders. Today, borders still act as physical, legal and psychological barriers between regions of neighbouring countries. The project addressed this issue by identifying and promoting regional development measures that stimulate the cooperation between public institutions, local businesses and residents of border regions. The RFO is finalised now and the following activities have been implemented according to the plan: 1 Final Conference (Düsseldorf) and 4 Annual Conferences (Düsseldorf, D; Joensuu, FI; Syros, GR; Krems, AT) have been realised. 21 Thematic Forum (TF) meetings were hosted by different Main Partners addressing various cross-border topics. All helped to exchange experience among experts and initiate/ complement issues of sub-projects. As part of the TFs also study-visits have regularly been organised in the respective regions. Furthermore, several Steering Committee meetings took place in the different Main Partner regions. These meetings served to take decisions on formalities and future activities, sub-projects and closely followed its implementation. Furthermore, a manual for border regions has been drafted based on the RFO activities and results. The manual contains an analysis of still persisting difficulties and challenges in cross-border cooperation as well as good examples and a check-list for future cross-border cooperation initiatives. In total, five calls for sub-project proposals have been launched and 16 sub-projects (SWGs) approved, dealing with issues like multilingual education in border regions ('Language Bridges'), cross-border geo-data applications ('Cross-SIS'), cross-border business parks ('SEP'), institutional cooperation and innovation along external borders ('REGBOUR'), cross-border river basin management ('RiverCross') or cross-border aspects of Trans-European Corridors ('Trans-EA'). In order to support the SWG Lead Participants, several Coaching Seminars for potential applicants, Lead Participants and auditors were held. 3 SWG projects (LABS, RiverCross, Cross-SIS) took the opportunity offered by the RFO to apply for additional funding and carried out further activities to consider new aspects of the work packages. Further information on the sub-projects' activities, the RFO in general as well as results and relevant downloads can be found on the RFO-website www.change-on-borders.net.
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