European cooperation during crisis

Hi! My name is Ana, I’m a student from Galicia, the North of Spain. I studied international relations in Madrid and this year I decided to start a new project joining IVY volunteering. Integration within European projects comes from two sides in my case, since I’m doing this volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago de Compostela, which is also engaged in other European programs.


I have the opportunity to volunteer with Interreg projects, especially with Lidera, a cross-border cooperation project between Galicia and the North of Portugal focused in propelling business competitiveness in this region. This project tries to boost cross-border economic development through the capacities of young entrepreneurships and their cooperation.

Bearing in mind the current pandemic situation and the difficulties we deal with to organise face to face events and cross-border collaboration, one could think is not the best time to participate within this programs, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Lidera keeps actively working looking for solutions and training for young entrepreneurs. It’s last event was in November, when they organize an intensive course on eco-tourism.


Due the proximity of the two regions, tourism seems like a good option for the reactivity of the economy, but can this sector return as it was before? No, in order to exploit the opportunities of tourism between Galicia and North of Portugal in this crisis or post-crisis era, it needs to be reinvented and adapted to the new paradigm and new tourist needs. Therefore, in order to asses and exploit this opportunity, Lidera organized this intensive course for young entrepreneurs specifically centred on eco-tourism, counting with the collaboration of experts in this area.

We focused on the window this pandemic has opened for reinventing a sector which has for a long time screamed for a reform towards sustainability. Avoiding mass tourism allows to a more responsible activity in the sector, regarding local population, cultural heritage and environment. Individualized and active tourism were at the core of our analysis, revealing the main priorities that characterize this period: health safety and expending time outdoors. Local tourism will also be revalued in the near future, allowing a new way of tourism not needing to travel long distances to discover new places or culture. An example of this was a speaker in the course that had created her own crafts exposition, recreating herself popular gadgets and products of Portugal that have disappeared or are about to.


A good aspect of volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce with IVY program is that they both have different European projects that can complement each other. For instance, I’m having the chance to work within the program Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, a European exchange program focused on increasing cooperation between new entrepreneurs and consolidated ones among different countries. This European program and Lidera are quite reconcilable, since many participants in the first are potential candidates to participate in the Erasmus exchange and increase their entrepreneurial capacities.


It’s time for reinventing and taking advantage of the opportunities this situation can bring. Lidera organizers know this and keep actively working to contribute to youth development, becoming a very enriching part of my professional career and allowing me to gain deeper knowledge of European Programs.


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Interreg Volunteer Youth is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)

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