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Press release

The annual event of the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme in Poznan (Poland) discussed further steps in transnational cooperation on 16 and 17 December.

Around 400 participants from ten different EU-Member States and the Ukraine availed themselves the opportunity of discussing further steps in cooperating transnational and making Europe more competitive, more innovative, better accessible and environmentally friendlier. The Partner Search Forum in Poznan, Poland was dedicated to present new and fresh ideas and projects aimed at overcoming challenges in the programme’s area. The Central Europe area covers eight EU member countries, has an area of approximately a fifth of the EU landmass and inhabits 28 percent of the EU population.

After having successfully closed the first call for project proposals and having approved 29 projects with an overall amount of around 66 million Euro ERDF, the second call for project proposals which will be launched at the beginning of 2009, allocating around 70 Million Euro ERDF.

During the conference, potential partners representing regional and local authorities, regional development agencies, and other actors, had the opportunity to meet and exchange project ideas. Targeted workshops and panel debates discussed how to improve and develop cooperation projects to the mutual benefit of their regions.

In their opening speeches Leszek Wojtasiak, Vice-Marshal of the hosting region of Wielkopolska and the representative of the Polish Ministry for Regional Development, Teresa Marcinów both emphasized the importance of the event. The Vice Marshall said that the Programme is important to strengthen regional cooperation and such an event shall contribute to the generation of creative ideas and encourage the possibility to learn from each other. Teresa Marcinów also shared the importance of the meeting and highlighted that the high number of participants is already a positive sign to identify common solutions in transnational level.

José Palma Andres from the Directorate General for Regional Policy at the European Commission noted that the Commission is very interested in projects with concrete outputs which bring the European Union closer to the citizens. In this connection he stressed that the year 2009 will be of special importance with a lot of projects expected which show clearly relevant impact for the regions in future. He also pointed out the importance of solidarity and new ways of working together, especially taking the actual economic climate into account. 

Also Alexandra Deimel, Austrian representative of the CENTRAL EUROPE Monitoring Committee referred in her speech to the added value of transnational programmes. “What cannot be tackled by regions or countries alone shall be tackled by transnational cooperation”, she stated. She made clear that the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme is a very challenging one, taking the very diverse economical, social and ecological situation within the Programme area into account.

Representatives of the Vienna based Managing Authority, Christiane Breznik and Walther Stöckl, stressed the importance of receiving best quality projects, not just for the CENTRAL EUROPE area, but for the European Union as such. “In order to reach the goal of convincing and inspiring European citizens of the project called European Union, we have to show them what they should be enthusiastic about. Projects with concrete and valuable outputs to the citizens are an important way of helping to achieve this goal.”

 

CENTRAL EUROPE is a European Union programme that encourages cooperation among the countries of Central Europe to improve innovation, accessibility and the environment and to enhance the competitiveness and attractiveness of their cities and regions.

CENTRAL EUROPE invests €231 million to provide funding to transnational cooperation projects involving public and private organisations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia The programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and runs from 2007 to 2013. Interested partnerships are invited to propose their projects following public calls for proposals, which will be widely publicised.