An Interreg Reporter for the Balkan Route

One of the projects managed by Interreg ADRION

The “Interreg Adriatic-Ionian programme” (known as “ADRION”) is an European Trasnational Programme that links Greece, most of the State of the former Yugoslavia (except Kosovo and Macedonia) and 12 Italian Regions. You may notice that Adrion is a cooperation between 4 European partner states (Italy, Greece, Slovenia and Croatia) and 4 non European partner countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia): this area, situated in a strategical geopolitical location (it connects Mediterranean Area and Asia) has a great common natural and cultural heritage and is a rich cultural meeting point now, like it has been during the entire history.

The purpose of Adrion is to give a guideline direction to support and simplify the integration among the partner states, to create cohesion and a common policy in all the subjects for the common development: from economy to culture, from the territory to tourism.

The scope of Interreg Adrion's cooperation area

So… what do I do at Adrion as Interreg Reporter?

Currently, one of the most important points of the European political agenda is the integration of migrant and refugees: not just to face the flows' crisis with immediate solutions, but to find a long-term integration policy, to permit social inclusion and access to the labor market - eradicating ghettoization and exploitation, that are inhuman and criminogenic.

Why and how an Interreg Programme is involved in this?

The impact of the flows is not just one, but is different in each macro-region (example: the Mediterranean from the Balkan one) and it also varies from the macro-region to the local level: the perception of the flow is different and it is so because people are strictly and directly involved. The key point is that we have different territories at different scales (macro-regional, cross-border, regional, urban/local, etc) that have to face this significant immigration flow: integration politics, both social and working ones, needs to be based on the understanding of this territorial structure. We need a view from the macro to the local level, to connect the need of people - locals and migrants - to the political answers.

Yes, the refugee flows is surely a challange for administrations, sanitary and logistic services, but it is also a great opportunity for the regions and the towns to enhance the potentials of their territory. Presently, Adrion is working on rising its knowledge about the territorial impact of migration and immigration: the study is focused in particular on the Western Balkan flows - known as “Balkan Route” - through which migrants and refugees arrive in Europe (most from Asia and Middle East war-zone: e.g. Afghanistan and Syria). The Western Balkan zone faces three separated flows: the internal migration from the countryside to the main cities, the external emigration of the native population and the transit migration that tries to enter in Europe through Hungary. In this complex scenario it is Adrion’s duty (and surely not only of Adrion, but its as one of the actors involved in the project) to develop the knowledge about the territorial impact of the migration flows.

Moreover, one of my duty as Interreg reporter for IVY will be to inform you about the progress of this challenging and great work. It isn’t just a “spot”: solidarity and cooperation in European territories are a real goal. With all the difficulties that we as European people have faced and the challenges that we will face in the future, we don’t have to forget that the “European Union” is not an anonymous government of bureaucrats, but a “web” of cultural, political, philosophical and territorial common history. And you? Don’t you want to be an active Citizen?

Laura – Interreg Reporter at Adrion (Bologna, Italy)

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