For the tenth time in a row, European Cooperation Day events are taking place across Europe under the auspices of the European Commission. On the Saturday, 18th September 2021 the results of the five projects were presented to the the participants of the “Project Picnic” event.
This year’s European Cooperation Day (EC Day) events bring together all European Territorial Cooperation programs, better known as the Interreg programs and representing the second pillar of cohesion policy. Hundreds of Interreg projects strive each year to find solutions to cross-border challenges across Europe. Their efforts are based on co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund. These funds are allocated by Interreg programs, as well as the Interreg Program Slovenia-Hungary. For the tenth year in a row, a variety of activities are taking place across Europe on this occasion in September. European Territorial Cooperation programs provide a framework for the implementation of joint actions, encourage regions and countries to address common challenges, and promote harmonious economic, social and territorial development. With the events, the organizers want to emphasize the importance of the achievements of European regions and countries in cross-border cooperation.
This year’s event took place at two locations and was dedicated to the presentation of five projects implemented under the Interreg Slovenia-Hungary program, namely Horse based tourism-HBT, Back in the day, Dual Transfer, Green Reg and Green line projects. Each of the five projects presented its own theme, but their message was common and clear, namely that by connecting and cross-border cooperation, solving common challenges is much easier and better.
According to Nina Seljak, Head of the Managing Authority of the Interreg Slovenia-Hungary Cooperation Program in the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, many successfully implemented cross-border projects are the result of cooperation between Hungarian and Slovenian partners. “Cooperation is especially crucial in these times for getting to know each other and raising trust in the cross-border area. It is an important framework for maintaining good neighbourly relations and an additional financial incentive for organizations and institutions in border areas.”
This year’s European Cooperation Day was somewhat curtailed and was adapted in scope and implementation to the situation related to covid-19. A group of participants gathered at the RIS dvorec Rakičan, where the results of two co-financed projects were presented (Back in the day and HBT). Then they went on a hike to EXPANA near Murska Sobota, where in a nice atmosphere presentation of another three projects (Dual transfer, Green line and Green Reg) took place. Participants of all ages, however, were particularly impressed by the ride with the 21st century carriage, which was designed and built as part of the HBT project.
Despite their small size, cross-border cooperation programs are becoming more and more recognizable from year to year, and the results of co-financed projects are an indispensable part of the development and increase of the quality of life in the cross-border area. Cross-border cooperation will continue in the period 2021-2027, which opens the potential for many new effective solutions to the common challenges of the cross-border area.
The event was a nice opportunity to exchange experiences, opinions and, of course, socialize representatives of various institutions and the public.