Volunteering at the Regional Coordination Unit of Interreg Italy-Austria

I am Syria Paoloni, an IVY volunteer in the Regional Coordination Unit of Interreg Italy-Austria in Trieste at the Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia. Additionally, I am pursuing a double master’s student of European Governance (University of Utrecht) and Politics and Public Administration (University of Konstanz). Friuli Venezia Giulia is a cross-border region located in north-eastern Italy bordering Slovenia and Austria. 

I always believed that cross-border cooperation can bring together different cultures, act as a door to other European macroregions, and most importantly, strengthen the European identity. I couldn’t miss this opportunity of experiencing cross-border cooperation between Italy and Austria!  

Interreg Italy-Austria covers six regions, three per country: Salzburg, Tyrol and Kärnten in Austria, and the Veneto Region, the Automous Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano in Italy. Interreg Italy-Austria has its Managing Authority located in Bolzano, in South Tyrol, Italy.

Its structure comprehends the joint secretariat located in Bolzano and the Regional Coordination Units located in each region of the program. In particular, the Regional Coordination Unit like the one where I am volunteering, acts as an interface between the programme bodies and beneficiaries, acting as the primary point of contact for potential beneficiaries. The offices in Trieste and Udine of the Regional Coordination Unit where I am volunteering provide constant assistance to the beneficiaries. They organize InfoDays and private meetings to ensure correct application processes, assist with partner searches, and evaluate projects. Moreover, the office verifies the project synergies with national and regional strategies and policies, to answer common questions, discuss procedures, or solve common problems with the other Regional Coordination Units.

For the period 2021-2027 there are 5 priorities: innovation and entrepreneurship (1), climate change and biodiversity (2), sustainable tourism and culture (3), Community led-local development (CLLD) (4) and reducing cross-border obstacles (5). CLLD is a peculiarity of the program: it finances the implementation of four cross-border local development strategies through Community-Led Local Development. The strategies intervene with a ‘bottom-up’ approach, involving Local Action Groups, which are entities created within the framework of the EU ‘Leader’ approach for the implementation local development strategies. In our region LAG Region Hermagor, LAG Open Leader and LAG Euroleader cooperate in the HEurOpen strategy.

Coming to my activities, I arrived in February and so far I am really enjoying my experience. My colleagues are very opened to listen to my proposals and opinions about the office activities. I mainly take care of communication, promotion and organization activities. First of all, I helped with the communication with the beneficiaries concerning the InfoDay about the program second call focused mainly on the second priority, namely climate change and biodiversity. During the InfoDay, which was held online, I also had the opportunity to present the IVY initiative to the beneficiares. Secondly, I offer assistance regarding the German language in the e-mails or meetings with the Austrian units. Thirdly, I regularly update the website with program-related news on the website Europa FVG such as the call openings, InfoDays, and opportunities for the beneficiares and citizens such as RegioStars 24, Interreg Volunteer Youth, and the Youth Council of the macrostrategy EUSALP. Additionally, I am currently helping with the gadget plan for the period 2021-2027 to promote the program.

What I enjoy the most is to attend the Interreg Italy-Austria events because I can truly enjoy cross-border cooperation. For example, I had the opportunity to join a “Meet&Match” event in Mestre, Veneto, where partners from all the six regions of the program were invited to meet and match in order to find the right partnership for their projects proposal. There I met Managing Authority representatives and made use of my German skills to help the beneficiaries when needed! Another interesting opportunity was a kick-off event in Trieste where the beneficiaries presented a project funded by Interreg Italy-Austria. I was very happy to present the IVY initiative. Finally, in May I will attend the Monitoring Committee of the Program in Lienz, Austria!

Last, but not least, analyzing synergies with other Interreg programs is fascinating. My colleagues also work with macrostrategies and other programs, providing me with valuable insights into the Interreg world.

– Syria, IVY Reporter at the Regional Coordination Unit FVG – Interreg Italy-Austria 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts


© 2024 Interreg Volunteer Youth - All rights reserved