Under the auspices of the European Commission events on the occasion of the European Cooperation Day are taking place for the tenth time in a row. On Friday, 10 September 2021, we presented the results and importance of cross-border cooperation projects in the border area of Gorenjska by hiking to the Zelenica.
This year’s European Cooperation Day (EC Day) events bring together all European Territorial Cooperation programmes, better known as Interreg programmes and represent the second pillar of cohesion policy. For the tenth year in a row in September they are implementing different activities throughout Europe. European Territorial Cooperation programmes 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 was set in a border environment of Gorenjska region, where many projects have been or are still being implemented, which would not be possible without Interreg programmes. Friday’s hike to the Zelenica was dedicated to projects implemented under the auspices of the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (SVRK), the managing authority of the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria. Three projects were presented: firstname.lastname@example.org, Alpe Adria Karavanke/Karawanken and CROSSRISK. The projects are a good proof of successful cross-border cooperation in the field of promotion of natural and cultural heritage and sustainable development of border regions.
As pointed out in her welcome address by mag. Nina Seljak, head of the Managing Authority of the cross-border Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria in the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (SVRK), without cross-border projects such cooperation would most likely not exist, nor would there be many concrete results for citizens who have a long-term impact in the field of economy, tourism and preservation of rich natural and cultural heritage. Cross-border cooperation 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, in terms of scope and implementation, was adapted to the situation related to the Covid-19. The hike, which took place along the oldest border crossing between Slovenia and Austria, represents a symbolic activity. From the starting point in Ljubelj, the participants went to Zelenica, where they saw the results of co-financed projects and learned about the advantages of cross-border cooperation. Despite their small size, cross-border cooperation programmes 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. This is one of the reasons why the cross-border programme between Slovenia and Austria is one of the most successful programmes at the EU level in terms of spending. 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.