This week, FEDRA had the pleasure to speak about Interreg Volunteer Youth with Alessandra Cardaci, Project Manager & Communications at AEBR.
AEBR is the “Association of European Border Regions” based in Germany, funded in the 1970s. AEBR represents European border and cross-border (CB) regions and supports them by:
representing their interests towards national and international authorities
making them more visible and heard by national and international authorities;
initiating, supporting and coordinating co-operation throughout Europe;
exchanging experiences and information;
promoting cross-border cooperation (CBC) structures, projects and programmes;
assisting in the identification, preparation and implementation of CBC events and other activities.
Among many other EU and international projects, AEBR has the great pleasure and honour to manage « Interreg Volunteer Youth» (IVY). We asked Alessandra how it all started?
Kosovo, located in the Balkans region of Europe, has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last decade and the government is working to strengthen the market economy through a clear European perspective.
FEDRA met with Ambassador Bernard Nikaj, Kosovo’s Ambassador in Brussels, to discuss about regional development, priority sectors and
EU funding opportunities.
Overview of Kosovo:
Kosovo is composed of 38 municipalities and is one of the most decentralized country in the Western Balkans. Most of the functions related to the every-day life of the citizens are under the competence of the municipalities. And thus, a lot of work is being done on the professionalization of the municipal administrations so that the foreign investors can easily interact with the local level. A big step towards a more modern administration system has been made when business registration offices were opened in all the municipalities over the past few years. The outcome of this progress is that it is now possible for companies to register a business in only 1 day.
The autonomous province of Bolzano-Alto Adige has always been careful to combine nature, landscape, environment, economy, social life and politics in the best possible way. Clearly, this is possible only if the citizens have the desire, respect and commitment to achieve this goal. On the one hand it requires financial efforts, on the other, sacrifices in terms of comfort which can be balanced by an efficient organisation. Think about the harmony between tourism and nature, thanks to innovative systems,the respect for nature does not exclusively mean sacrifices.
Sustainability is a forward-thinking concept, often beyond political legislatures. Thus, anyone who has decision-making power has to understand that sustainability is for the common good and that it has to be done regardless of any political orientation and beyond any advertising campaign. Finally, the more the results are visible in terms of ecological systems, nature protection and approved by the citizens and tourists, the more we are motivated to continue on this path.
Iskra Mihaylova, an experienced MEP from Bulgaria, is the Chair of the Committee for Regional Development, and also a member of the FEDRA Honorary Committee. As a representative of the regional sphere in the EU, and a devoted militant for the development of the non EU-member states, she agreed to have FEDRA in her Parliament office and talk about her work in the REGI Committee and at the delegations to the EU of the Neighbourhood Countries of Macedonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The interview started with the topic of the priorities of the Committee for Regional Development. According to Mrs Mihaylova, the focus is on obtaining the best results from the current planning period and to prepare the path for the next legislation concerning the cohesion policy after 2020. Implementation, simplification, and coordination are the key words in Mihaylova’s speech and also the link between the several proposals drafted by the parliamentary committee.
The Republic of Srpska (Republika Sprska) is one of the two constitutional, legal, and autonomous entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the past years significant reforms were initiated in the economic sector, especially impacting the fields of taxation and duties, as the government of the region wishes to turn it into a profitable market for foreign investors. The Minister of Economic Relations and Regional Cooperation of the Republic of Srpska, Mr Zlatan Klokić, is currently dedicating his work to boosting the image of the Republic, to draw new investments from abroad, and to bring the region closer to the funding opportunities presented by the EU. Another one of his goals is to secure the position of the Republic in the Adriatic-Ionian macro region, by bringing into focus its resources, and its legal, and economic systems.
Ten years ago, MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij tried to make a synergy between the structural funds and the Horizon 2020 objectives. Mr. Novakov has the same ambition. His secret is to coordinate all actions towards an only goal, and to “attract priority investors via EFSI and the Junker plan, use the grants we have, and combine them”. Fortunately, there are people in the Parliament, and in the Commission who support this action plan. However, another plan, one more close to his heart, is the current object of Andrey Novakov's attention. This is the ALECO (Achieve Leadership in Entrepreneurship in Cooperation and Opportunities) programme, which has been recently initiated by him. The goal of this programme is to open international markets to young entrepreneurs from the EU.
Andrey Novakov, born July 1st, 1988, is the youngest member of the European Parliament. He comes from the Blagoevgrad region in Bulgaria, and is amazed at the development of his country since it has become an EU state. He is a passionate member of the Committee of Regional Development, and he also endorses better opportunities for young Europeans, since it is the youth who will continue the journey towards development. FEDRA’s team sat down with him to discuss his opinion about regional development in the EU, and about his efforts to engage the youth in social and economic actions for the progress of their communities. The first topic of the discussion was his vision of the EU when its member states face problems. According to him, the Union is similar to “a high residential building with 28 floors, soon 27. France and Germany are on the 1st floors, and the are on the top.” In case of a rain, and of a “leaking roof, even if at that moment [the water] will only ruin the carpet on the last floor, it is just a matter of time until the water from the rain reaches the bottom of that building”.
One year after its official launch, FEDRA will return to the European Business Summit to co-organise the Growth Regional Session of the event.
For this special occasion, we have decided to publish the videos of FEDRA’s launch on May 2015.
Pascal Goergen kindly answered our questions to present FEDRA, its following steps and its objectives.