Before we get too deep into 2019, it is worth stopping for a moment to look back and take stock of what happened last year.
For us, 2018 goes down in the books as a year of 'firsts'. How? Let us illustrate with 5 points.
First action plans
The first action plans of our projects have been prepared. And there are 133 of them, to be precise. This is a very tangible outcome from the exchange of experiences and interregional policy learning between partners in projects, and a promising step towards further implementation of new actions. See for instance how the action plan of Sibiu County Tourism Association from CHRISTA project looks, or have a look at how Fundao’s action plan is building on lessons learned from OSIRIS project.
First pilot actions
Indeed, on the list of 'firsts', we are also happy to have the first pilot actions approved. No less than 13 pilot actions have already been approved. For example, CISMOB is promoting real-time information systems on public transport and developing a prototype of a bus tracking system which will be tested in Centro Region in Portugal. The panels will be installed in early 2019 and preparatory works are already well on their way – see the latest updates here.
These will surely be followed by others in 2019 and beyond, but so far 13 sounds like a lucky number!
First results reported by the projects
Going from plans and pilots to even more concrete results, 2018 marks also the first results reported by our projects. And quite an impressive start, even if we say so ourselves: 58 policy changes achieved (out of which 42 are related to Structural Funds). Let’s see how far we get by the end of this year!
First peer review
The Policy Learning Platform carried out the first peer review. This first pilot Peer Review was carried out in October, hosted by Hauts-de-France on energy efficiency in social housing and public buildings. Have a look at this article and video for more information. We also ran the first peer review call, which brought in 13 applications (as said above, a lucky number!). The results will be announced very, very soon.
First above 80% eligibility rate
We had our fourth call for project proposals in 2018. After hundreds of project applications over the years, some might think that by now we have seen it all. Quite the opposite; there is one very pleasant 'first' in this category as well. For the first time, more than 80% of applications are eligible to a call - our highest rate ever! While we are still working hard to finalise the assessment, from a set like this, we can only look forward to an exciting new batch of projects to be launched later this year.
The 2020 edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities (#EURegionsWeek) is coming up on 12-15 October in Brussels, Belgium.
In 2020, #europecooperates goes fully online. Be part of it and join us on 9 June - let's share solutions for recovery and resilient regions!
European Commission and Interact Programme organise an online debate on youth and European cooperation on 23 June. Join and have your say!