Interreg Volunteer Youth: Latest Goals Met:



 

The initiative Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) has overcome the number of 260 volunteers in February 2019 and keeps on growing. In the last months, IVY volunteers have participated in many local or regional events promoting the projects they are involved in, as well as territorial cooperation – and such activities had an echo on the media, too. From local fairs to ceremonies gathering regional stakeholders or events addressing a wider public in the whole EU, the blog dedicated to IVY witnesses many of the activities undertaken by the volunteers.

IVY/AEBR has organized with DG Regio the workshop Cross-Border creativity: new ways to communicate Interreg during the European Week of Regions and Cities in October 2018. IVY was also present at the European Public Communication Conference (EuroPCom) and have been invited to the European Youth Week (28 April to 5 May 2019) and to the stand of DG REGIO in the building of the European Commission in occasion of the Open Doors Day at the European Institutions ( 4 May 2019). Also, 12 posters with a photo of IVY volunteers will be exhibited in the European Commission’s Berlaymont Building in the course of spring 2019.

From mid-February 2019 onwards, Interreg Volunteer Youth participants also have the opportunity to organise events, meetings and forums to engage citizens and promote European projects within their local communities.

We aspire to make IVY permanent and integrated in the core of all European territorial cooperation programmes, possibly also beyond the EU borders and Interreg.

As we already informed in the last issue of this Newsflash, the agreement with the European Commission to prolong IVY was renewed and AEBR will manage the initiative at least until December 2019.

With regard to the participation in this initiative, the mark of 250 matches of volunteers with Interreg Programmes or related projects was reached in February 2019. Since March 2017, AEBR has deployed 267 volunteers in 36 Interreg Programmes and in 90 Interreg projects all over Europe, granting a great success to such an innovative project.

Noteworthy is the presence of IVY at the European Week of Regions and Cities 2018 in Brussels last October. AEBR brought together 14 IVY volunteers from several host countries for the EWRC, the key event on EU Regional Policy organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission's DG for Regional Policy welcoming over 6.000 participants each year. During the week the volunteers and the IVY team promoted the initiative with an information stand and ran a dynamic workshop about new ways to communicate the achievements of Interreg programmes and Interreg projects. During the workshop the volunteers explained how they contribute(d) to improve the visibility of the Interreg Programme in the area where they are deployed, and how thanks to their engagement territorial cooperation has become more accessible to the general public.

The volunteers are also attracting the attention of the media: many journalists, amazed by the involvement of young people in European projects, have interviewed participants in IVY. Local magazines, international platforms as well as national newspapers like Le Monde have met IVY volunteers to inform about this initiative. Panorama magazine, the periodical publication of DG REGIO, dedicates regularly an article to Interreg Volunteer Youth, and the latest issue (entitled Success stories across our regions and borders) includes an interview to AEBR’s Secretary General Martín Guillermo Ramírez on the prospective developments of the project, among other very interesting articles. You can download it in all EU languages here.

Looking at the future, AEBR is now focusing on strengthening the impact of the initiative: thanks to a collaboration with Interact, the volunteers will develop new ways to promote the social dimension of European Territorial Cooperation and to communicate about the benefits of Interreg in a publication entitled “Stories of European Cooperation”. Along with the European Commission, AEBR is also exploring ways to involve volunteers more closely in communication activities, especially towards the general public. From mid-February 2019, IVY volunteers, as well as previous participants, have the chance to organise extra communication activities addressing the general public to raise awareness of Cohesion Policy. IVYs are encouraged to suggest new and creative ways to communicate about European cooperation and to involve their local communities in a fruitful dialogue in so-called “Citizens’ Engagement Activities”.

Finally, we aspire to make IVY permanent and integrated in the core of all European territorial cooperation programmes, possibly also beyond the EU borders and Interreg. The goal is to extend the involvement of young people in all European territorial cooperation programmes, whether within the EU (Interreg), its neighbourhood (ENI-CBC) or in Pre-Accession countries (IPA-CBC). Furthermore, the growing number of territorial cooperation initiatives in other continents would benefit greatly from volunteers’ assistance.

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