What are the main features of the European territorial cooperation? What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on this tool, its practices and policies? What are the main challenges and opportunities for the 2021-2027 European programming period?
These were some of the main questions raised on 4 April during the Webinar on European territorial cooperation: challenges and opportunities in the post-pandemic era organised by Il Sole 24 Ore as part of the Work4Future project co-financed by the European Commission - Dg Regio in collaboration with OBC Transeuropa and CNR ISSiRFA.
CEI Senior Programme Manager and Focal Point for CEI activities in the field of health, Gian Matteo Apuzzo, pointed out that cooperation at territorial level not only constituted a priority objective of the cohesion policy– but it was to be regarded as an added value, especially in the European Integration process and as a soft power tool for pre-accession countries such as the Western Balkans.
He highlighted that within EU project development field, the INTERREG programme had been fostering territorial cooperation since the 1990’s, and that although important steps forward had been made, there was always room for improvement. In this context, he particularly undelined the unfavourable effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on cross-border and territorial cooperation, with ever more focus on the health sector, especially due to border closure and travel suspension to contain the virus.
As for future challenges and opportunities, all participants agreed on the recognition of the role of partnerships within the European Territorial Cooperation projects as laboratories for European integration and development. They thus called for stronger synergies among the various EU funds to have a more effective and sustainable impact of the promoted initiatives in the European regions and countries.
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