The Programme life cycle 2007-2013 is coming to its end and, even though intensive work on the new Programming Period has already started, there is still much work ahead of us if we want to make sure that the utilization of European funds will be as successful as possible during this period as well.
The Managing Authority of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes, which institutionally is an integral part of the Hellenic Ministry for Development and Competitiveness, has proved to be quite successful to that end. Not only has it achieved in the day-to-day management of ETC Programmes but has served the overall European Territorial Cooperation establishment as a whole by safeguarding the major European principles of:
- Equality among the members of Cooperation;
- Consensus in the decision making process;
- European ETC regulatory framework;
- Regular evaluation of institutional capacity in drafting and implementing the ETC Programmes,
altogether showing great independence and clear mind in its everyday work.
Therefore, it is in the right position as we are facing the challenges of the new Programming Period. In that sense, the MA already knows its primary strategic priorities and the outlines of the structure of future Programmes, the main objective of which is promoting growth and increasing competitiveness of the eligible areas and regions as a whole. The fact that tangible use of resources in the current Programming Period started with a delay shows that proper and timely preparation cannot be underestimated this time. Following the preliminary conversation with all participating countries the developmental priorities, the fulfillment of which will be the objective of the seven-year period, are starting to being defined. These priorities can together be termed “4I” – infrastructure, institutions, innovation and inclusion. Supporting these areas will help the eligible areas become a good place to live and at the same time an attractive place for investment and business.
In this context an important role is reserved for the geography of the ETC Programmes in the new Programming Period. The Adriatic –Ionian macro-regional strategy has already taken its course, as the relevant consultations are on their way. At the same time, it seems that cooperation and capitalization of previous efforts in South East Europe in the form of a transnational Programme will continue, as the proposal for the establishment of a new South East Europe Programme, in parallel and in synergy with the “Adriatic-Ionian”, the “MED” and the “Danube” transnational Programmes, had the strong political and institutional support of the countries of the region, which presented their case to the European Commission.
Cohesion policy is generally perceived as a great opportunity for future investment. One needs to be aware, however, of the shift from the original compensation nature of the regional policy to one that promotes growth, competitiveness, innovation and the knowledge economy. We expect that this shift will manifest itself in the spectrum of supported Projects, which will demand more effective use of resources and more visible results in the future Programming Period. Implementation of strategic and effective project management, synergies between ETC Programmes with regional and sectoral Operational Programmes and other national strategies, promotion of the TransEuropean networks for Integration and observance of the principal of partnership of all involved authorities in connection with its execution are all important pieces of knowledge that the Managing Authority will apply when coming to the closure of the current Programming Period and preparing the future one.
General Secretary for Investments (NSRF)
2013 has proved to be one of the most difficult –in terms of management- but yet most productive years of the current Programming Period 2007-2013. The Managing Authority of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes
- has activated 100% of the budget of all the ETC Programmes it is managing;
- has drafted, in cooperation with the relevant National and Regional Authorities, detailed Action Plans of all the necessary steps to be taken per Operation Programme, in order to monitor the smooth Programme implementation;
- has achieved the n+3 objectives for
2013 inall European Territorial Cooperation Programmes it is managing, without the loss of any funds;
- has developed a MIS system (ETCP-MIS), adjusted exclusively to the needs of the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes, the MA is responsible for;
- has formulated an interdisciplinary methodology of the Calls for the Strategic Projects, setting common priority themes, with Regions, Decentralized Administrations Ministries and socio-economic partners, of all countries involved per Programme. Strategic Projects are already being implemented in the “Greece-Bulgaria”, “Greece-Cyprus” and “Greece-Italy” Programmes, while the Call is still open in the “Greece-Albania” Programme. The MA believes that it was desirable and beneficial, to enrich the contents of the “Strategic project” on the basis of exploitation of the current circumstances, where the strategic developmental choices of the European Union are shaped for the following Programming Period (2014-2020), so that the entire procedure may operate as a field of preparation for the shaping of integrated strategies for the eligible areas by the milestone of 2020 EU Agenda;
- has elaborated a Risk Management tool, in order to detect and timely avoid risks in day-to-day Programme implementation;
- has formulated a modern Quality Management System, which has been certified in June 2013 according to the EN ISO 9001:2008 international standard;
- actively participates in annual European Cooperation Day with innovative activities implemented in all CBC Programmes and this year into this framework the MA organized for the first time a successful win-win joint seminar and workshop on which all seven (7) neighboring countries participated (Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Fyrom, Italy, Turkey) with the contribution and active participation of DG REGIO and INTERACT.
At the same time the Managing Authority is getting prepared for the next Programming Period 2014-2020. Within this context,
- it has elaborated a Strategy of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes for 2014-2020, taking into account the current socio-economic conditions in all partner-countries, as well the region’s needs, as depicted by the relevant authorities and the Project and Programme implementation during the current period;
- it has organized major thematic meetings with participation of the Regions, Ministries and socio-economic partners in the fields of sustainable development, innovation and entrepreneurship, social inclusion, environment and touristic & cultural European routes;
- it is planning, hopefully with the cooperation of DG REGIO and INTERACT, an international best-practice conference in early 2014, in the framework of the Greek presidency of the EU;
- it has set a detailed timetable for the activation of the new bilateral Programmes for the Programming Period 2014-2020.
The Managing Authority of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes participated in the celebration of European Cooperation Day, which was honoured under the auspices of the European Commission, by organizing a series of events in the framework of all Programmes it is managing.
The campaign highlighted the role of cooperation across borders in the European Union and with its neighbours –a celebration of all the benefits European Territorial Cooperation brings to people across Europe. It was an opportunity to discover all the improvements local cooperation initiatives have brought to various aspects of your daily life; from creating jobs, to improving health care services, transport, energy and environmental protection. European Cooperation Day was celebrated through over 280 local events, brought to you by 72 programmes in almost 40 countries. The “Greece-Bulgaria”, “Greece-Cyprus”, “Greece-Italy”, “Greece-Albania” and “Greece-The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” Programmes, in cooperation with the national authorities of the neighbouring countries and the Representations of the European Commission, were among them. In particular:
- In the framework of the “Greece-Bulgaria” Programme, there was organised a photography competition and a subsequent photography exhibition in Komotini and Kardzhali. Following the successful exhibition in Komotini (13-19/09/2013), which included the award ceremony for the candidates that gained the first and the second place in the contest, the photography exhibition titled "Promoting the beauty of the cross border area and its people” was transferred, as scheduled, in Kardzhali (Bulgaria) for the period 20-23/09/2013. During the exhibition’s opening ceremony in Kardzhali (20/09/2013), a parallel award ceremony for the candidate that gained the third place was also held. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that between 20-23/09/2013 more than 1000 people visited the exhibition. Due to the vast interest from the public’s side, a weekly extension of the photography exhibition was decided. The contest along with the exhibitions in Komotini and Kardzhali were organized for the occasion of the European Cooperation Day in order to further enhance and strengthen the ties between the citizens living in the cross border areas of the European Union.
|1st prize: Raina Prahova|
|2nd prize: Stergios Tsiokas|
|3rd prize: Alexander Karadzov|
- In the framework of the “Greece-The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” Programme, a photography contest and exhibition entitled “We belong Here: Life, people and nature in the cross-border area” was also organized. Photos were submitted in digital format until 4th September 2013. More than 60 residents of both countries sent in 251 entries. The competition was judged on creativity, emphasis on cross-border character and photographic quality by a panel of three experts comprised of members of the Managing Authority of ETC Programmes, the Ministry of Local Self Government in the neighboring country and the Joint Technical Secretariat. Seventy (70) photographs with the highest rank as indicated by the Judging Committee and another 30 photographs, selected by the JTS in the category Honorary Mentions, were exhibited in Edessa (20-26 Sept. 2013, Sisamotriveio Arditsoglou), Ohrid (7-14 Oct. 2013, Ηouse of Culture “Gligor Prlicev”) and Skopje (25 Nov. – 11 Dec. 2013, EU Info Centre).
|1st prize: Tryfon Kitsos|
|2nd prize: Igor Jankovski|
|3rd prize: Giannis Batantzis|
- In the framework of the ΙΡΑ Cross-border Cooperation Programme “Greece-Albania 2007-2013” a cross-border Classic Yacht Regatta from Corfu town to Saranda with return was organised on 14/09/2013. More than 50 sailors with 10 sailing boats participated.
- The European Territorial Cooperation Programme “Greece-Italy 2007-2013” participated in the celebration of European Cooperation Day 2013, with three events that have the general title “The Sea that unites us”. The events, having a symbolic meaning, referred to exchanging small boats “loaded” with messages of cooperation, bearing the EU emblem, the flags of Greece and Italy, and the EC Day logo. In this context, paper boats (with waterproof and recyclable paper) made by children and all those who participate in the implementation of the ETCP GREECE-ITALY left to sail in the sea area between Greece and Italy, the natural border that unites the two countries. More specifically, during the first event that took place in Igoumenitsa, on Friday 13 September 2013, the boats and the interesting messages were created by young rowers of the NAUTICAL CLUB OF IGOUMENITSA. During the second event that was organized in Corfu, at the premises of NAUTICAL CLUB, on Saturday 14 September 2013, Optimist sailors, scouts and children of the NGO: “The smile of the child” made colorful boats and wrote messages before leaving them in the sea. All kids enjoyed the event and had sandwiches, cookies and juices that prepared KOISPE of Corfu. Both events closed with presents for all children. A third event was held at the premises of the Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto, Carovigno (Brindisi), in Italy, on 21 September 2013. In the framework of the organization, the paper boats were made by scholars and left free in the sea together with some turtles, belonging to the population of “Caretta Caretta” (a sea turtle species seriously threatened by the impact of human activities). The Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto was founded with the goal of providing a model for sustainable development of the coastal zone, in a continuous improvement of environmental governance.
The Cross-border Cooperation Programme "Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013" successfully organized on 25/09/20132013 at the lake of Agios Nikolaos in Crete the EC Day event "Traveling with tradition”. The core concept of it was the presentation (and free trial) of gastronomic delicacies from the eligible areas of the Program, gracefully binded with a show of local dances and music.
In total, traditional products were exhibited in four pavilions - stands of each region i.e.
· Region of Crete
· Region of North Aegean
· Region of South Aegean
The event was organised with the collaboration of the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos that contributed to the successful implementation of the event with its technical personnel, traditional dance groups and local products that were offered in the framework of the Tourism Week that also took place at the same week.