Hello everyone! My name is Clara, I’m German, and since December I’m an IVY volunteer at the Joint Secretariat of Interreg Central Europe in Vienna.
Like other Interreg programmes, Interreg Central Europe is a European funding programme that encourages and supports transnational cooperation projects to make cities and regions more resilient to common challenges. Such challenges include, for example, climate change adaptation, the energy transition, or overcoming the socioeconomic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the help of the Regional Development Fund, the supported projects work together across borders to make Central Europe smarter, greener, better connected, and more integrated – which are all goals of the European Cohesion policy.
Connecting professionals from the public and private sectors in the programme area of Central Europe is thereby especially important since the area was formerly divided by the so-called “Iron Curtain”. The cooperation across borders helps to overcome the leftovers of this division, which contributes not only to Central Europe’s cohesion but to the European Union’s cohesion in general. This is also what makes Interreg Central Europe so special for me.
However, December not only marked my beginning at Interreg. But it was also the starting shot for the first call of funded projects under the 2021-2027 programme. On the 15-16th December, the monitoring committee of Interreg Central Europe jointly decided in Bratislava to fund 53 projects with a total budget of 100 million Euros. So at the Interreg Central Europe Joint secretariat, we are now busy contracting these innovative projects, drafting workshops, where the participants can learn about and from each other, and also preparing the second call starting in March.
Personally, I support the Communications Department in its day-to-day activities. These activities include right now the launch of the new website (visit the new website, it is very informative!), starting a new Social Media campaign, and organizing our Programme Conference in March. But since everybody in the office here is very welcoming, I also had the chance to get some sneak peeks into other departments like project management or financing.
In this short period of being an IVY, I already learned a lot about communication in general, the EU’s cohesion policy, and how transnational cooperation affects our daily lives. And I am very thankful to be part of this open-minded and international team for the upcoming months.
Can’t wait for what’s about to come!
– Clara, IVY Reporter at Joint Secretariat Interreg Central Europe