On 1 January 2020, Croatia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Finland. The overarching theme of the six-month presidency is ‘A strong Europe in a world of challenges’.

This is the first time that Croatia will preside over the Council of the European Union. They are also the newest member of our programme. So, what have they been up to so far?

Our newest member

Croatia might be our newest member, but that hasn’t stopped them from fully taking part. They are involved in 29 different Interreg Europe projects and already have 17 good practices in our expert-validated database.

Has Croatia seen any benefits from taking part in our programme? And if so, what are they? According to Ivan Lajtman from the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, the “greatest benefit so far has been the opportunity to take part in a large scale pan European programme that provides opportunities for getting in touch with policy makers from all around Europe even from regions with different culture, problems and policies than Croatia.”

Taking the lead

One example of these benefits is the involvement of Croatia as lead partner in the SUPPORT project.

According to Ivan, “by participating in SUPPORT, Croatia had the opportunity to exchange experiences with different stakeholders and get new policy solutions to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy in public buildings.”

SUPPORT is helping local governments with low-carbon strategies by trying to improve the coordination and performance of policy instruments that implement energy efficiency programmes. They submitted their final action plan in June 2019, thus completing the first phase of the project. For the next two years, SUPPORT will carry out that plan and monitor its success. We can’t wait to see the results!

Looking to the future

With many of our projects coming to the end of their first phase, we’ve already started preparing the next Interreg Europe programme.

Where does Ivan see us in the future? We “should remain a catalyst for experience exchange and a generator for new ideas on how to improve current and develop new public and regional policies in different intervention fields.”

If you want to get involved in the discussion, you can join us in Dubrovnik on 9 June 2020 for the next edition of ‘Europe, let’s cooperate! Interregional cooperation forum’.

Dive a little deeper

Want to know more about Croatia’s participation in the Interreg Europe programme?