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Panel The Role and Current Challenges of European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation

8th European Congress of Local Governments

Mr. Roger Casale, Moderator, Director General of New Europeans International, invited the participants to reflect on the current opportunities and problems of cross-border cooperation, from the perspective of various regions, the European Union and partner countries, such as Ukraine and the Western Balkans. He called the common motive of this cooperation the creation of partnerships for peace-building, which is particularly timely in the context of today’s international situation.

Mr. Serhiy Tatusiak, President of the Dniester Euroregion, shared his experience in the field of implemented projects in education, environment and development of local infrastructure. He emphasized the unique opportunity for Ukrainian local governments to benefit from Polish experience and, through Polish local governments, also the experience of other European partners. Local governments from Ukraine also create a network of partner contacts on their borders with partners from countries such as Moldova and Romania, and through them, become partners in EU cross-border cooperation programmes. He pointed out that this cooperation also serves to build regional identity. Cooperation sectors include: health protection, waste segregation, education, etc.

Ms. Luiza Hoxhaj, Executive Director of the Center for European Policy Studies and Regional Development from Albania, indicated the large share of the Interreg program in the implementation of joint projects with partners from Italy and cooperation within the European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation ETC, in the 2021-2027 perspective. A new element is the inclusion of the Western Balkans in the EU URBAN programme. These activities also serve to adapt the candidate countries to EU membership.

Mr. Radosław Brodzik, Director of the Foreign Cooperation Office of the Marshal’s Office of the Lubuskie Voivodeship, emphasized the new quality created by the ETC institution, which creates unique opportunities for effective cross-border cooperation in the model of cooperation between local governments from two countries with different legal systems. ETC also causes a synergy effect and creates an opportunity to expand the geographical scope of cooperation areas. He also gave recommendations to local governments from Ukraine and other countries aspiring to join the EU as to the use, through Polish local governments, of entering and participating in partner networks throughout Europe and of already existing and proven ready-made models of cooperation. He also pointed to the need to precisely define the common goal of cooperation between cross-border partners.

Mr. Oleg Wostrych, President of the Foundation of the Higher School of Professional Politics in Ukraine, pointed to the possibilities of accessing new ones through his partners, e.g. from Poland, to obtain external sources of project financing and to create partner networks in Europe. Close cooperation at the local level gives e.g. the possibility of exchanging experiences, e.g. in the field of technological processes of processing plants, dairy installations, etc. from Poland and Ukraine.

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