Happy Easter holidays!

Exceeding averageness – exceeding borders: Geopark management centre

On Friday, 12 April 2019, as part of the NaKult project, new premises in the building of the former Volksschule Šentlipš, in the municipality of Sittersdorf/Žitara vas were opened. The premises will serve as the Geopark Management Centre, which also includes a Geo-workshop for various, especially educational, activities.

Interreg funds are intended for content that goes beyond national borders and the implementation of which achieves better results when activities are coordinated on both sides of the border. Cooperation is not always something self-evident, something that will happen completely automatically, but it requires a desire to overcome averageness. A good example of cooperation is the NaKult project, in which several municipalities and regional institutions on both sides of the border are spreading awareness of Geoparka’s rich geodiversity and developing remote hiking trails as a new joint tourist product. The result of the project is also the management centre in Sittersdorf/Žitara vas. In order to operate it, within the project, they purchased equipment and furniture for the space, which will be used for the implementation of various activities, such as an annual Geopark camp and educational workshops.

The opening of the new premises was attended by Dimitrij Pur, Head of the programme’s Management Authority (MA), Daniel Fellner, Regional Councillor, Angelika Kuss-Bergner, member of the National Assembly, as well as representatives of project partners and mayors of the Geopark municipalities: Jakob Strauss (mayor of Sittersdorf/Žitara and 2nd President of the Regional Parliament), Gerhard Visotschnig (mayor of Neuhaus/Suha), Franc Jožef Smrtnik (mayor of Železna Kapla/Bad Eisenkappel), Stefan Visotschnig (mayor of Pliberk/Bleiburg), Herman Srienz (mayor of Feistritz ob Bleiburg/Bistrica pri Pliberku), Hannes Mak (mayor of Gallizien) and Bernhard Sadovnik (mayor of Globasnitz/Globasnica).

The event was spiced up by the children’s choir of the Sittersdorf/Žitara vas elementary school.

For more information about the event, please visit: www.geopark-karawanken.at.

New opportunity for receiving ERDF funds in July

To date, 43 projects with a total value of 43.5 million EUR from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) have been approved in the frame of the cross-border Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria. The programme co-finances activities in three priority axes. Within the priority axis 1 “Strengthening cross-border Competitiveness, Research and Innovation“, 17 projects worth approx. 13.9 million EUR ERDF have been approved so far. 13 projects, amounting to approx. 17.2 million EUR ERDF were approved under priority axis 2 “Protecting the Environment and Promoting Resource Efficiency“. In the area of ”Enhancing Institutional Capacity and an Efficient Public Administration” (priority axis 3), also 13 projects were approved for a total of approx. 12.4 mio. EUR ERDF funds.

So far, a bit more than 97 % of all available programme funds were awarded or contracted. The remaining funds, a bit less than 1.5 million EUR ERDF are available in the 5th deadline for submission of applications, which will be open until 4 July 2019 (the submission of applications will be possible through the eMS system by 12:00 noon).

Based on a review of 43 approved projects, we found that at programme level we have not yet achieved all the planned values of the programme indicators. The indicators for which the values have not yet been achieved relate to research and development projects (specific objective 1) and to the topic of internationalization (specific objective 3) within priority axis 1, and projects involving research institutions in the field of management and utilization of water resources (investment priority 6f) within priority axis 2. Considering the amount of available funds and the achievement of the values of the programme indicators, the recommendation that the projects submitted in the 5th deadline for the submission of applications under priority axis 1 should not exceed 500,000 EUR ERDF should be followed, projects under priority axis 2, more specific under investment priority 6f, should not exceed 350,000 EUR ERDF and, under priority axis 3, the projects submitted should not exceed 250,000 EUR ERDF.

We strongly recommend that the project partners contact the competent national / regional authority and the Joint Secretariat at the time of preparation of the project application or prior to the submission of the project proposal. Experience has shown that such an approach enables more successful project preparation.

The Open Call and the Application Pack are available under the following link: Open Call and Aplication Pack.

97% of the programme funds contracted in Burgenland

In the frame of the 7th Monitoring Committee (MC) meeting of the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria, held on 3 and 4 April 2019 in St. Martin an der Raab in Burgenland (Austria), the members of the MC amongst other things decided on the projects that were submitted within the fourth deadline for the submission of applications. Within this deadline of the Open Call for Proposals, 21 project applications were submitted. 2 projects were approved at the meeting, 4 projects were postponed by the MC members, while 9 projects were rejected. In total, more than 900 thousand EUR ERDF programme funds will be contracted within the fourth deadline of the Open Call for Proposals, which means that the programme contracted 97% of all available programme funds. In the frame of the approved project BANAP (2nd priority axis), the Slovenian and Austrian partners will jointly promote the conservation of biodiversity and develop practical solutions for the maintenance of biotically rich grasslands. The project Co_Operation (3rd priority axis) enhances participation in joint rescue actions in case of natural and other disasters between partners in Gornja Radgona and Bad Radkersburg. The lead partners of the approved projects will sign the ERDF Subsidy contracts approximately in May.

The next, fifth deadline for applications will end on 4 July 2019 at 12.00 p.m. The Open Call and the tender documentation are available on the programme website. For more details regarding the 5th deadline of the Open Call, please contact Mojca Muršec (T: 00386 1 400 3167).

The MC members also set the basis for the programming of the period 2021-2027. In the framework of the meeting, the presentation of the project INNOVET, took place. The president of the provincial parliament, Verena Dunst, and the mayor of the municipality of St. Martin an der Raab Franz Josef Kern shortly joined the MC and stressed the potential of cross-border cooperation between Slovenia and Austria in the spirit of the European orientation.

The decisions of the Monitoring Committee are available here.

International exchange of experience with representatives of the Central Baltic Cross-Border Cooperation Programme

Ljubljana, 27 February 2019 – The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy as the Managing Authority for the Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria, Slovenia-Hungary and Slovenia-Croatia, hosted the representatives of the Interreg V-A Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Finland- Estonia-Latvia-Sweden (Central Baltic) 2014-2020.

Today’s international meeting was attended by representatives of managing authorities and joint secretariats of all four above mentioned programmes in order to exchange experience in managing cross-border cooperation programmes in the period 2014-2020. They focused on the ARACHNE risk assessment tool, the preparation of annual summaries, the use of electronic monitoring systems (eMS) and their continued use after 2020, the completion of projects/programmes for the period 2014-2020 and the preparation of the period 2021-2027.

The participants welcomed such meetings. They expressed that the experience presented is comparable and can therefore be used in practice. They expressed their wish to further exchange experiences in the field of implementation of cross-border programmes and the preparations concerning the period 2021-2027.

Launch of the REGIOSTARS Awards 2019

Every year, in 2019 already for the 12th time, the European Commission awards those EU-funded projects, which demonstrate excellence and new approaches in regional development. With the goal of inspiring other regions and project managers across Europe, participating projects are in the spotlight of communication activities at European level.

The REGIOSTARS are awarded to projects in five thematic categories. In 2019, the REGIOSTARS are focussed on five areas that are crucial for the future of EU regional policy:

  • SMART GROWTH: promoting digital transformation;
  • SUSTAINABLE GROWTH: connecting the green, blue and grey;
  • INCLUSIVE GROWTH: combatting inequalities and poverty;
  • URBAN DEVELOPMENT: building climate-resilient cities;
  • TOPIC OF THE YEAR 2019: modernising health services.

High-level academics will assess the submitted project applications and crown the winners. In addition, the public will decide on its own winner through a public on-line vote and award the Public choice award to one of the projects.

More details on the award categories is in the Guide for Applicants.

How to apply?

The Guide for Applicants provides you with all the necessary information to make your project a winner. Next to the detailed description of this year’s award categories, the eligibility and award criteria, this Guide contains a practical handbook to guide your through the process. The on-line application platform is open from 19 February until 9 May 2019. The winners in the five categories, and the winner of the public choice, will receive their well-deserved price at the festive REGIOSTARS ceremony, to take place in Brussels in October 2019.

Joint cross-border activities for post-clinical rehabilitation of stroke patients in rural areas in 2030

Today, on 19 February 2019, the signing of a Subsidy contract from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the cross-border rehabilitation project REHA 2030 took place in the premises of the Goverment Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) in Maribor.

Within the framework of the cooperation programme between Slovenia and Austria, a total of 41 projects were approved within three deadlines. In the third deadline, 18 projects were approved in the total amount of 18.5 million EUR ERDF. The last Subsidy contract for a project, which was approved within this deadline, was signed today in the premises of the GODC in Maribor.

The main challenge in the programme area is demographic change, which results in a lack of opportunities for post-clinical rehabilitation for stroke patients on the Slovenian and Austrian side of the border, especially in rural areas. The main achievement of the REHA 2030 project will be a model of services, suitable for stroke patients in the aftermath of post-clinical rehabilitation at home and the development of the a necessary technology platform (REHA robot, internet platform). Particular attention will be paid to the sustainability aspect: project structures will be developed for the expansion of the project, among which REHA International Alliance will be established, in the frame of which the cooperation will continue also after the completion of the project. The EU funds thus enable the activities of post-clinical rehabilitation of stroke patients to be implemented simultaneously and in a coordinated manner in the rural part of the border area, which contributes to the development of common and lasting results and enables the concentration of knowledge among Slovene and Austrian partners.

Fachhochschule Kärnten – gemeinnützige Privatstiftung cooperates with the partners Fakultät für Elektrotechnik der Universität Ljubljana, Tyromotion GmbH, MKS Elektronski sistemi d.o.o. and Univerzitetni rehabilitacijski inštitut Republike Slovenije – Soča. The possibility of cooperating with similar institutions on the other side of the border enables the creation of permanent cooperation networks.

The Subsidy contract worth a bit more than EUR 660 thousand EUR ERDF was signed by the representative of the Lead Partner, dr. Christina Paril, and Dimitrij Pur, Head of the Managing Authority. Representatives of the cooperation programme were also present.

In the frame oft he programme, 95% of all available funds are contracted, which makes it one of the more successful at EU level. Information on the approved projects is available on the following link. Pictures from the event are available in the photo gallery.

Bilateral solutions 2nd Call for Proposals was launched!

The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) has just opened a new call for proposals open until 15th March, addressing public authorities and cross-border structures of border regions in the EU and EFTA countries.

The aim is to identify further border obstacles of legal and administrative nature to allow for the development of innovative proposals in order to strengthen cross-border cooperation.

The 2nd call for proposals can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/pilot-projects/2nd-b-solutions-call-proposals-until-15-march

To know more about b-solutions, visit the website: https://www.b-solutionsproject.com/

Should you have identified such an obstacle and if you would like to share it and explore possible solutions, get in contact with the b-solutions’ team at b-solutions@aebr.eu


The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy has published a public tender for the selection of an external expert for the evaluation of efficiency and effectiveness and the impact of the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria 2014-2020.

The subject of the public procurment is the implementation of three evaluations aimed at evaluating the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact of the results as well as effects of the programme.

The public tender in Slovenian language is published on the Slovenian Public Procurement Portal at the following link: https://www.enarocanje.si/Obrazci/?id_obrazec=297058.

The tender documentation (original in Slovene language and the translation in German language) are available at: tender documentation

In case of discrepancies between the Slovenian and German texts of the tender documentation, the original documentation in Slovenian language is binding.

The deadline for the submission of offers is 4 March 2019 at noon. 

Networking – the key to the innovation potential of companies

4th Business meeting of the ABS Network project

Dear ladies and gentlemen,


As part of the ABS Network project, we are already preparing the fourth event. The business meeting will be particularly interesting, as we will not only look at best practice examples in the field of technological development (Industry 4.0), actively network with potential business partners and gather interesting information on funding, but also visit laboratories of the University of Technology  in Graz and take a look at the functional prototype of the STAF panel.

And what are the highlights of this business meeting?

  • A round table on the key elements of successful cooperation between industry and educational and research institutions
  • Industry 4.0 – Best-Practice Examples
  • Funding – tricks for preparing a good project and current calls for proposals
  • Visit to the laboratory of the Tools&Forming working group of the Institute for Materials Science, Joining and Forming  at the TU Graz, the FabLab and the functional prototype of the STAF-Panel.


All this and more will be revealed on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at the TU Graz from 9 am to 1 pm.

HERE you can find more information about the event.

Participation is free and the number of places is limited. Registration is possible until 1 February 2019.

We are looking forward to meeting you and remain until then with kind regards,

ABS Network Team