Before 2019 gets up to full speed, right about now might be a good moment to look in the rear-view mirror and review some of the highlights from 2018. Here's our selection - we would love to hear yours as well, so please do share some of your finest moments too!

Projects in the spotlight

2018 was quite a special year for projects. In March, we approved 54 new projects from the third call, bringing us to a total of 184 ongoing projects. Furthermore, we ran our fourth call for projects from 7 May until 22 June and received 170 applications. The results of the assessment are expected in late March (see a progress update here).

 

Moreover, last year marks a moment when cooperation shifted gears, as our first projects concluded phase 1 of their cooperation, finalised their action plans and started heading towards phase 2. Some are even planning their first pilot actions. As more and more projects are now reaching this stage, we have shared some useful tips for action plans here. (Extra tip: Action plans are also the main topic of our webinar on 24 January)

Special focus on cultural heritage

In 2018, we celebrated the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Several Interreg Europe projects were official partners of the year and contributed to the activities (see a list here). Our projects were also featured in an e-book ‘Connecting cultures, connected citizens’ that introduces a selection of Interreg projects focused on cultural heritage. The e-book was published by the Interact programme and it is available online or as a pdf download. The publication was also presented during the European Week of Regions and Cities 2018 and a poster exhibition.

Good practices and learning opportunities

We kicked 2018 off with a massive open online course (MOOC) on making the most of EU resources and EU funding for regions and cities together with the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European Commission, Eurostat, the European Investment Bank, Interreg Europe and URBACT. By the end of the year, more than 14 000 participants had enrolled and made use of the free course material. If you missed the course, see this quick re-cap and this 6-minute video that summarises in a nutshell what Interreg Europe is all about:

Later in the year, in September, we organised a lunchtime briefing ‘Discover good practices for regions and cities’ in the Committee of the Regions in September. During the session, we introduced the good practice database as well as the other services of the Policy Learning Platform.

Additional learning opportunities are offered on a continuous basis by the Policy Learning Platform. Keep track of the event calendar here.

Sharing experiences and networking in events

Ahead of the fourth call, 'Europe, let’s cooperate!' on 22 March 2018 welcomed over 300 participants from 26 countries to Brussels. The networking with peers and potential project partners continued a few weeks later during the online edition of the event, engaging well over 1000 viewers and online participants.

 

In April, all Interreg Europe projects came together in Sofia for ‘Experience fair – journey through project implementation on 24-25 April 2018 to share experiences on project cooperation. In November, we gathered the projects from our third call to Dublin for an intensive yet rewarding seminar programme focused on practical communication and finance management tips and advice.

 

Keeping up with the traditions, we also contributed to the European Week of Regions and Cities (8-10 October 2018). We told stories of change and the impact of cooperation, discussed digitalisation and public services, and engaged participants in Policy Learning Platform activities. Project RaiSE took home an award from the Interreg Project Slam and many other projects were also part of #EURegionsWeek, see these highlights for some examples.

Events were also organised by our projects and national points of contact around Europe. Keep an eye on on 'In my country' page to stay up to date on what is happening in your country. 

It's all about cooperation

2018 was also characterised by the debate around the post-2020 future. While the future continues to be shaped, the importance and impact of interregional cooperation is clear. See for yourself:

 

In brief, we spent 2018 supporting the ongoing projects, getting new projects started, and spreading the word about the added value of cooperation. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the Interreg Europe online community passed a milestone of 15 000 members last year and continues to grow every day. You can also benefit from the online resources and networking opportunities and join here.

For more highlights, have a look also at what the Policy Learning Platform did last year and see why we titled 2018 the 'year of firsts'.