An exciting outlook for 2024: IVY volunteers to support citizens’ consultations

An exciting outlook for 2024: IVY volunteers to support citizens’ consultations

2024 will be a year with exciting novelties in IVY (to be announced soon!), and one of them is a new tasks for IVY volunteers to support cooperation. The European Commission has invited Interreg programmes to run consultations among their stakeholders on their vision of Interreg in the future, and IVY volunteers will have a central role here.

Programmes will design and conduct consultations involving different local actors in their regions to hear and learn from their perspectives how cooperation works and can be improved.

Young people can participate in this amazing effort of democratic participation: Interreg programmes can benefit from the support of IVY volunteers who will help them carry out the consultations, for example reaching out to new actors in the area, or suggesting inclusive ways of engaging with local communities. Also, young people should be listened to too as part of the consultations.

We interviewed Sławomir Tokarski, Director for ‘European Territorial Cooperation, Macro-regions, Interreg and Programme Implementation’ at the European Commission, one of the initiators of the initiative, to understand the importance of the consultations for DG REGIO:

Why is the role of youth so central to this exercise of post-2027 consultation in territorial cooperation?

We would like to ask youth for their opinion on post-2027 Interreg for two key reasons. Firstly, young generations have expressed a strong desire to take an active role in the shaping of their own future, this is only legitimate. By engaging in these debates, young people have the opportunity to build a sense of commitment not only to their territory but also to cooperation with their neighbours and partners across Europe and beyond. This not only ensures that cooperation has future but also aligns Interreg with the European Union’s values of inclusiveness and participative democracy. The second reason is that young people bring diverse skills, perspectives, and innovative ideas which enrich these consultations and the overall Interreg/cooperation community. All contributions are welcome!

What is the result of these consultations that you wish for?

I wish for a result that accurately reflects our communities’ hopes and needs as regards European cooperation. These consultations are our way of getting ready for the new Interreg regulation post-2027 but they shall also provide valuable information for the current period. Citizens are at heart of everything we do so by including them in the consultations, we are making sure their voices are heard and that our policy corresponds to their expectations. This will probably require more work from the programmes but it is certainly worth the effort.

And with this interesting new challenge for 2024, we look forward to involving new young people in IVY and supporting citizens expressing their expectations on cooperation.

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