A Greek in Greece: Interreg helps the local Greek-Bulgarian community!

On 14/12/2017, I had the opportunity to participate as an Interreg Volunteer at the discussions of the first bilateral council of the ‘Social Forces’ project. The Regional Development Agency of Rodopi S.A. was the hosting organization of this meeting between Greece and Bulgaria. The main topic of the event focused on the added value of the social economy for the regional development of both Greece and Bulgaria. Given that social enterprises already exist in this geographical area, the purpose of the presentations was to propose the establishment of new regulations that enhance future taxation method. As regards the most important initiatives, these include: the inauguration of five training

Supporting capitalisation

As mentioned in my last post, in the past few weeks I've been working on the design of the surveys in relation to the two studies on the impact of SUDOE projects and on the needs of the Programme's key actors. After careful internal analysis, the proposed questionnaires were sent to the National Authorities of the Programme for comments. To reach the largest number of people and make it easy for them to understand exactly the goal of the studies, the surveys will be launched in the three main languages of the Programme (Spanish, French and Portuguese). For this reason, it's key to take into account those comments and adapt the questions according to the specificities of each language. This i

“Tell me where central Europe is, and I can tell you who you are”

There are quite many moments which makes me think about where I exactly am. As a Hungarian in Vienna, sometimes I tend to forget I am actually living abroad. Especially during Christmas time, when I can eat lángos and listening to my mother tongue language in every corner of the city. Totally feels like home, believe me! I attended an event organised by one of our projects in Vienna yesterday and I even met people who were not Hungarians by nationality or origin, but were coming from Budapest. To tell the truth, sometimes it can be annoying, but most of the time I find it fascinating and funny. One day, I was curious and counted how many Hungarians I bumped into on my way from work to home.

My experience as IVY volunteer in a small Polish city!

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Supporting Mediterranean cooperation projects in Marseille

To be completely honest, I had never heard of the Interreg Programme before being proposed to partipate in its new branch, the Interreg Volunteer Youth Programme. I had no idea that such a thing existed – cross-border cooperation projects between adjacent European regions? Never heard of it. But after registering to the European Solidarity Corps database, I was contacted by a French organisation that told me about this opportunity. That's how I ended up participating in the IVY Programme at AVITEM – the Agency of Sustainable Mediterranean Cities and Territories in Marseille, France. Here I support the implementation of French-Italian cooperation projects about different topics, such as susta

SENIOR FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES Live safely, enjoy life, stay involved

‘Together we are creating Senior Friendly Communities in a cross-border setting to ensure that all senior citizens in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine can continue to enjoy participating in daily life.’ Credit: Imare euPrevent | EMR has initiated the project ‘Senior Friendly Communities’ (SFC) in order to develop senior-friendly communities; communities that are care-friendly, carer-friendly and inclusion-friendly. The project focuses on mental health with special attention to dementia and age-related depression. Nine euregional partners are working together with 32 communities from the Euregio Meuse-Rhine towards achieving this goal. Project staff have conducted research and assessments in each part

BALTIC TRAM- Two IVY Volunteers in Hamburg

Guten Tag! We are Ruben and Ondrej, both researching at the project BALTIC TRAM. Who we are? My name is Ruben. I come from El Arenal, in Spain. After my studies in Madrid, I have participated in several EU programs for Youth – Erasmus, Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, Youth Exchanges in several countries, FARO Program…- and the outcome is that it was always really positive, and it had an impact in my life. I was working for the private sector in Bratislava before applying for this project; I felt that I was in the need of a change and this could be a great opportunity to learn and experience new things. Hi, I am Ondrej and I come from Brno, Czech Republic. During my studies of business, I to

My German-Dutch experience in Kleve, Two Months Later

Time goes by and it’s always difficult to be aware of that! At least, this is how I feel after two months assisting the Joint INTERREG Deutschland-Nederland Secretariat. During this period a lot has happened: for instance at the beginning of October I had the chance to meet other volunteers during the “IVY Get Together” event; on the 17th-18th October a German-Polish delegation came to visit the Joint INTERREG DE-NL Secretariat to exchange different perspectives and best practices. Furthermore, a colleague and I participated to the celebration day of the end of a “People to people” project in a little Dutch town and went with another colleague to visit the Dutch Province of Overijssel, where

Taking Open Borders to the Next Level

My uncle and aunt just returned from a road trip along the wildly beautiful coastline of northern Spain. While their original plan was to travel from Bilbao to Porto, keeping things Spanish turned out to be the easier alternative. Overcoming the administrative nightmare of picking up a rental car in one of the Iberian states and returning it in the other was not how they decided to spend their holidays. For them, this cross-border obstacle was a new and temporary inconvenience of minor importance. For others, these issues are a daily reality. There is no continent with as many internal borders as Europe. Invisible as these borders may seem, the EU is still fragmented by administrative, legal

A Hanseatic Legacy: Cooperation in the midst of a Diverse Region

The end of my time as an IVY Reporter has come. I am writing this as my final days are approaching here at the Interreg Baltic Sea region managing authority in Rostock, Germany. Although my volunteering experience was short, only two months, I was able to witness how Interreg works from the inside, behind the scenes, among a dedicated team who oversee a total of 74 Interreg projects – and counting - from all over the vast Baltic Sea region. Rostock Neuer Markt The managing authority of Interreg Baltic Sea is located in Rostock. A small Hanseatic city located in the North-east of Germany, a 20 minute train ride from the Baltic Sea. Although I have been to Germany many times before, I had neve

Promoting Intercultural Competences and Employability in the Grande Région

As a recent Master graduate of International and European Relations I have always been fascinated by borders and more precisely by the EU’s influence on them. Driven by this fascination, it may come with little surprise that I started working on an EU-funded INTERREG project at the Transboundary Policy Department of the Département Moselle (France). United in Diversity is the EU’s official motto - living and working together peacefully while preserving our own cultural identities. But how does that work? And how can we make it work? The many INTERREG projects taking place all over the EU and sometimes even beyond are one of the beautiful answers to this question. As for my part, I am an INTE

Two months at the Central Baltic programme - the volunteer's perspective now

Two months, two seasons and four planes later, my experience as Interreg Reporter at the Central Baltic programme has come to an end. It started back in September, when, on a gloomy Saturday afternoon, I arrived for the first time in Turku, Finland, curious to discover more about the programme and its northern countries. As it is usual in these cases, it seems both a lifetime ago and yesterday: time has passed so fast but lots of things have happened since my first day in Turku. During the two months I spent at the Central Baltic I volunteered to be a support to the Joint Secretariat’s Info team: I wrote articles and reports, interviewed project partners and contributed to social media manag

IVY seen from the Central Baltic Programme

From idea to volunteer - Thank you, that was all. Please ask if you have any questions. A presentation finishes and my thoughts wonder outside at the European Cooperation Day workshop in Berlin. A single leaf flies by the window. Somehow this now brownish memory of summer has managed to survive until late January. Slides are changed and we hear about the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY). The Commission representative tells us that a pilot to involve the European Solidarity Corps in Interreg has been approved. The specifics are being worked out. This sounds very interesting! The workshop finishes, we pack our things and head back home. As we wait for further news, an idea for the volunteer begi

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