AEBR representatives met Director General Walter Deffaa:


For the third time within a few months, Director General Walter Deffaa met with AEBR Secretary General Martín Guillermo and the Chairman of the AEBR Advisory Board Jens Gabbe in order to discuss important current issues of cohesion and regional policy. The discussion had a special focus on cross-border cooperation.
The meeting was held at the new offices of DG Region in Beaulieu (Brussels) on 8 April, and it was arranged at a very short notice. It was attended by three senior officers of DG Regio, and dealt in particular with:

  • Current state of negotiations (European Parliament, Member States, European Commission) on the multi-annual financial framework and the new regulations, including EGTC).
  • Partnership agreements EU - Member States and possible consequences for territorial cooperation.
  • Improving the quality of INTERREG A programs (participation ofstakeholders / NGO 's, management, decentralization, etc.).
  • Small projects.
  • Time schedule for submission and approval of the OPs.
  • Assessing territorial impact of EU policies (Commissions staff working document 17.01.2013, SWD (2013) final.
  • Annual Conference of the AEBR on 7 and 8 November 2013 in Liège (Belgium).

In particular, close partnership agreements and small projects were discussed. 

AEBR underlined the value of partnership agreements, but reminded at the same time that the full participation of the regional / local level must be guaranteed in the process.

Moreover, it should be avoided that Member States fix national priorities unilaterally for territorial cooperation, as these priorities are not necessarily identical with those of neighbouring states. This would complicate and delay the common elaboration of Operational Programmes, as foreseen in the regulation.
With regard to small projects, there had recently been some criticism, also on the part of the European Commission and the European Parliament.

In preparation of the meeting, AEBR had therefore elaborated a document that shows the importance, the benefits and the added value of these small projects (available in German and English). The arguments are based on INTERREG assessments and practical experiences in the border regions. It was agreed that such projects make sense if they serve to prepare, support and reorientate (experimental character) the measures that are foreseen in  the priorities.

Furthermore, it seems reasonable to combine several smaller projects in one package, making the benefits and the impact on economic and socio-cultural life in the region more visible. There is no doubt that the EU policy becomes visible and tangible through this kind of projects. A Europe of citizens to touch. 

Documents available for download:  


People-to-people-projects - their significance and contribution to the success of cross-border (INTERREG A) Programmes

Network of the Small Project Funds (SPF) in Europe: A Common Framework for EFRE financed Small Project Funds (SPF) in Europe (elaborated by AEBR member regions)

People-to-people-Projekte - ihre Bedeutung und ihr Beitrag zum Erfolg von grenzübergreifenden (INTERREG A) Programmen

NETZWERK DER KLEINPROJEKTEFONDS IN EUROPA - Ein gemeinsamer Handlungsrahmen für EFRE-finanzierte Kleinprojektefonds (KPF) in Europa (Dokument erarbeitet von AGEG-Mitgliedsregionen)

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