Bestowal of awards of the contest for flagship projects within the joint future concept for DE-PL integration area:


On 5 June 2019, the Polish Institute in Berlin held the Bestowal Ceremony of the Awards for winner projects in the competition organized by the German and Polish governments for cross-border projects implemented in their common integration area (Verflechtungsraum). The winners in 2019 have been Revitalisation of the railway connection Leipzig – Poznan, Contact and helpdesk for German and Polish citizens, PommernArche – Ancestral typical Pomerania, TRAILS – Mobile Innovation work and services, and REVIVAL! – Revitalisation of historical cities in Lower Silesia and Saxony. Honorary awards were bestowed to two projects devoted to child education: Big and Small, and Neighbour language acquisition – from kindergarten to the end of school time. And there were two special mentions by the Jury: Smart Integration, and the Europa Bridge Neurüdnitz – Siekierk.

AEBR Secretary General was invited to be part of the Jury to award most relevant projects within the joint DE-PL Verflechtungsraum, which met in Frankfurt(Oder) in February. He was also invited to do the Laudatio of the two projects with a special acknowledgement by the Jury: Smart Integration between Saxony and Lower Silesia, and the completion of the Europa Bridge Neurüdnitz – Siekierk after 75 years of closing.

The event started with a welcome message by representatives of the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development of Poland and the Ministry of Interior, Building and Home Affairs of Germany. It followed a summary of the results of the contest and then an experts’ exchange about the future of the German-Polish integration area.

During his Laudatio, AEBR’ Secretary General stressed the high quality of all projects and the difficulties to select those to be awarded with the prizes. On the other hand, these two projects are very good examples of the building of cross-border partnership and their effective implementation, but also about the construction of trust between partners. Furthermore, both are also very good examples of how progress can be achieved after various years of cooperation and the strong search of common objectives in a reasonable period of time. Both projects have also received acknowledgement in previous editions of these awards, and they have a promising future in front of.

A principal wish towards these projects is that both are able to overcome some objectives, like the removal of barriers or the withdrawal of obstacles, but also that the cooperation in structures and processes get permanently operational without the need to depend on external interventions of financing. In this sense, any obstacles identified during this process could be analysed by AEBR in the framework of the resulting measures of b-Solutions project.

Other instruments might also be useful, such as EGTC in the case of Smart Integration, or perhaps the ECBM (European Cross-Border Mechanism) in the case of the Europa Bridge. Nevertheless, maybe it is not necessary to go so far. On the ECBM there is still a big question mark. Various EU Member States are not convinced enough about the volunteer character of this instrument, with no risk of damaging own sovereignty. This seems to have to do mostly with trust (or mistrust). That is why these projects show the way to further trust-based initiatives in this and other European border areas.

AEBR would like to stress the importance of concepts such as the common future concept for the German-Polish integration area (gemeinsames Zukunftkonzept für den DE-PL Verflechtungsraum).

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