Pilot project developed in the Euroace to provide know-how on cross border cooperation in the agri-food-forestry sector to stimulate regional development
In 2016 the DG Agriculture & Rural Development launched the study PILOT PROJECT–AGROPOL to develop a European cross-border Agri-business model region and selected the Euroace as a case area.
This Euroregion emerged from the commitment of Alentejo (PT), Centre (PT) and Extremadura (ES) to foster cross-border and inter-regional cooperation, promote the integrated development of the territories and improve the population´s living conditions. Once the regions had designed their Smart Specialization Strategy, the Euroace RIS3 Working Group was created to work on a Joint Specialisation Pattern for the identification of the priority areas for collaboration and complementarities between the regions.
The Agropol consortium is currently co-developing with regional stakeholders a cross border strategy in the agri-food sector through a continuous participative process with diverse activities to define the sector to focus on, identify the cooperation potential, identify the needs and opportunities for cross-border cooperation in agri-food and identify the objectives and expected results of a cross-border cooperation. In practice this process is being carried out as a cross-border Entrepreneurial Discovery Process which involves key regional players from the Quadruple Helix and aims to boost innovative and collaborative initiatives in the Euroace. As a result, the fruit and horticulture sector and, specifically, the medicinal & aromatic plants value chains have been selected to focus on
There has not been a specific budget allocated for Agropol. Every partner has had to finance the expenses with each participating entity´s own funds. Nevertheless, the activities developed by external Agropol experts have been financed by the European Commission, DG Agriculture & Rural Development
Evidence of success
This cross-border Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) has resulted in the development and implementation of concrete cooperation initiatives, among which it can be highlighted the submission of a project proposal to the Programme INTERREG V-A Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) in order to foster cross-border cooperation in the medicinal & aromatic plants sector in the Euroace.
Financing cooperative activities between 3 regions is very complicated, unless a financial instrument planned precisely for such cooperation is used. Using different regional/national financial instruments is rather difficult due to the unlike regional situations: regulation, timescale, eligibility.
Potential for learning or transfer
The experience drawn from this pilot project can serve as a benchmark for other European regions in terms of regional development through cross-border cooperation and EDP