On the 8th of November, IVY Volunteer Svetlana participated to the AEBR’s Annual Events, in Košice, Slovakia.
We asked Svetlana to share the experience with us:
From November 8th to November 10th, I had the privilege of immersing myself in the vibrant discussions and unique experiences at AEBR’s Annual Events in Košice. As an IVY Project partner at the EGTC GO for the Interreg ITA-SLO project SPF GO! 2025, my journey was not only a personal exploration but also an opportunity to connect with the broader context of cross-border cooperation.
On Thursday, November 9th, an engaging conversation on cross-border challenges unfolded at the Velká Sála, Tabačka Kulturfabrik. Discussions ranged from preliminary results of b-solutions to perspectives on solving cross-border obstacles. Noteworthy presentations included insights into post-2027 Interreg by Ms. Simona Pohlová and a focus on Euroscepticism in cross-border areas through the B-SHAPES Horizon Europe Project by Ms. Sara Svensson.
Later, a session on the situation between Israel and Gaza, presented by Prof. David Newman, provided a unique perspective on cross-border dynamics. The day concluded with a working session on Cross-Border Labour Markets, addressing obstacles to effective implementation and exploring institutional approaches.
The evening’s highlight was the Gala Dinner at the historic hall of the East Slovak Gallery, graciously hosted by the Košice self-governing region.
On November 10th, the focus shifted to EU integration in Ukraine across borders. The day began with greetings from key figures such as Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of AEBR.
Sessions explored Ukraine’s achievements in EU integration, featuring speakers like Mr. Oleksandr Ilkov and Ms. Myroslava Lendel. The morning concluded with insights into cross-border cooperation in the Visegrad Four countries.
The afternoon delved into Ukraine’s EU integration experiences, drawing lessons from the V4 countries.
As a proud participant in the IVY project and a resident of Gorizia, a city where I have lived and grown for 21 years, I bring a unique perspective shaped by the atmosphere and reality of a cross-border territory. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and arriving in Gorizia at the age of 5, my entire life has been intimately intertwined with different territories and border realities.
Reflecting on these enriching days, the convergence between the annual AEBR events and the IVY Project stands out. The intersection of cross-border discussions and youth engagement underlines the vital role that the younger generation plays in shaping a more connected, inclusive, and resilient Europe.
This journey was more than an event: it is a testimony to the power of collaboration, shared experiences, and the promise of a future where borders are not barriers but bridges to a united Europe. It reinforces the belief that the treasures provided by Interreg projects can elevate awareness and contribute to the unique identity of a destination, transcending boundaries and celebrating its rich history.
As I reflect on the importance of cross-border cooperation, it is impossible not to notice the historical milestone that awaits Nova Gorica and Gorizia. In 2025, these two cities will jointly hold the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture, marking the first case in the history of the initiative (established in 1985) where the title is shared by two cross-border cities. This unprecedented collaboration speaks of the power of unity, of overcoming borders and celebrating the rich cultural tapestry that binds these two communities, which have been divided in the past and have literally experienced the shifting of the border numerous times during the past century (in spite of which we call it the ‘moving border’). It is a testament to the transformative potential inherent in cross-border initiatives that create a narrative that extends far beyond geographical boundaries. The journey ahead promises not only a celebration of culture, but also a shared legacy that will resonate for years to come.
– Photos and article by IVY Volunteer Svetlana D.V.