Final WiFi4EU Call launches 17th March

Municipalities across the EU will have a final chance to apply for a voucher to fund the installation of free WIFI networks in their communities, starting 17 March 2020 at 13.00 CET, until 17.00 CET on 18 March 2020.

The opening date of the fourth and final call of the WiFi4EU initiative has been announced for 17 March 2020 at 13:00 CET. With a call budget of EUR 14.2 million, the Commission will distribute 947 vouchers a first come, first served basis to municipalities across Europe, allowing for geographical adjustments. The call will be open until 17:00 CET on 18 March 2020.

In order to be able to apply for the EUR 15,000 voucher, municipalities must be registered on the WIFi4EU Portal before the call. The voucher will allow the winning municipalities to set up free Wi-Fi networks in public spaces.

The first WiFi4EU call, which took place in November 2018, awarded 2,800 vouchers from more than 13,000 municipalities from every EU Member State, Norway and Iceland. The second call in April 2019 saw more than 10,000 applications for 3,400 vouchers. Last September, the third call distributed 1,780 vouchers in the first 2 seconds. Seeing the interest in the initiative and to ensure that all available vouchers are allocated, for this call there will be no maximum number of vouchers per participating country.

To know more about how the WiFi4EU initiative works, check out the WiFi4EU step by step guide and the FAQs.

Source: European Commission

 

Young Elected Politicians – Call for Applications now open

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has just launched a new call for expression of interest to select motivated young elected politicians (YEP) to join the YEP programme in 2020.

Apply to join the 2020 YEP Programme

The Young Elected Politicians Progra​​mme (YEPs) is a network of politicians who are no older than 40 and hold a mandate at regional or local level in the EU.

The purpose of this network is to​ exchange best practice among local and regional politicians, network with fellow young elected politicians from the EU, understand and seize opportunities offered by the European Union for local and regional areas, speak for EU regions and municipalities in the European legislative process and gain visibility in European ​circles.

The 2020 programme is structured around the three themes​ listed below. Selected participants will be divided into three groups, depending on their choice of topic, and be invited to join a specific event designed for them around one of the CoR plenary sessions. Furthermore, the three groups will all be invited to the European Week of Regions and Cities, which will take place in Brussels on 12-15 October 2020.

  1. Cohesion Policy

​Would you like to discover what is planned for Cohesion Policy in the 2021-2027 budgetary period? Would you like to meet the people involved in order to make Cohesion Policy work for your region and city?

If you want to apply for this theme, you need to be available to travel to Brussels on the following dates:

  • 24 to 26 March 2020 for the CoR plenary session where the Cohesion Policy will be debated,
  • 12 to 15 October 2020 for the EU Week of Regions and cities.
  1. Green Deal

Do you want the opportunity to share your experience on the ground with other European politicians?

If you want to apply for this theme, you need to be available to tra​vel to Brussels on the following dates:​​

  • 12 to 14 May 2020 for a dedicated event on the contribution of the local level to the Green Deal and for the CoR plenary session,
  • 12 to 15 October 2020 for the EU Week of Regions and cities.
  1. Future of Europe

Do you want to shape the future of Europe? Are you willing to bring the EU closer to the public in your region or city?

If you want to apply for this theme, you need to be available to travel to Brussels on the following dates:

  • 29 June to 2 July 2020 for the EuroPCom conference and the CoR plenary session,
  • 12 to 15 October 2020 for the EU Week of Regions and cities.

Selected candidates will participate in tailor-made programmes and will have the opportunity to meet and network with other politicians at local, national and European level. The CoR will reimburse travel costs and pay a subsistence allowance of EUR 274.

In order to apply, you must:

  • hold a democratic mandate as an elected politician at regional or local level in a Member State of the European Union,
  • be no more than 40 years old on the first day of the first event you will attend,
  • not hold a mandate as CoR member or alternate,
  • have a good level of English (as some events will take place in English only),
  • complete this application form and submit it no later than 5 March for those applying for the theme of Cohesion Policy, or 31 March for the other two topics,
  • demonstrate knowledge of and direct commitment to the subject area for which you are applying.

Apply to join the 2020 YEP Programme

Candidates will be selected with an eye to ensuring balance in terms of gender, regional and local representation, political affiliation and nationality. They will be informed of the selection results in April (mid-March for those selecting the Cohesion Policy theme).

For more information visit the YEP website.

 

Source: European Committee of the Regions

MATCH-UP good practices handbook

The MATCH-UP Handbook of Good Practices to foster low carbon urban mobility

MATCH-UP focuses on the optimisation of the places where people change between low carbon transport modes – Walking/Cycling, Public Transport, Rail Transport and Green Vehicles.  This project aims to improve these interchanges at local level to improve public transport by learning from our Interregional partners.

The MATCH-UP Handbook outlines all the Interregional Good Practices identified through the MATCH-UP project including the following Good Practices from Ireland:

  • Cork Transport and Mobility Forum (TMF) – Cork City Council
  • Cycle and Ride Infrastructure associated with Luas Light Rail – Transport Infrastructure Ireland
  • Green-Schools Travel Programme – An Taisce
  • Local Link Rural Transport Programme – Waterford Local Link
  • Limerick Smarter Travel, Workplace Mobility Management – Limerick City Council

MATCH-UP, a four and a half-year, 5-partners project was approved for a grant of €0.9m by the Interreg Europe Programme  and commenced in July 2018 at a meeting in Bologna. The partnership consists of 4 European regions – Southern & Eastern Ireland, County of Northeim, Germany, Municipality of Funchal, Portugal and Timisoara Municipality, Romania who are working together to share experience, solutions, and good practice to develop and deliver better public policy to reduce carbon emissions and support low carbon urban mobility in designated urban centres.

MATCH-UP is part-funded by the Interreg Europe Programme through the European Regional Development Fund and led by the University of Bologna in Italy.

For more about the MATCH-UP project go to – www.interregeurope.eu/match-up/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION/INTERVIEW AND IMAGES, CONTACT:

Southern Regional Assembly, Waterford, Ireland

Ms. Rose Power, EU Projects Officer, rpower@southernassembly.ie

Project Co-ordinator

Match-up@unibo.it

 

News from IREO

New Head of Office joined IREO!

Teresa Lennon has recently joined as Head of the Irish Regions European Office and has overall responsibility for guiding local and regional authorities in Ireland through the EU policy and funding landscape.  We are delighted to welcome Teresa back to Brussels, having previously worked in the EU sphere for UK and U.S. business organisations, lobbying the EU institutions on the development of EU policy and funding programmes.

Before joining IREO, Teresa was Head of Research Development at Ulster University, where she was responsible for increasing the drawdown of research funding to the University.  This included promoting the opportunities available from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, INTERREG programmes, as well as UK and global funding sources.  For 6 years before that, Teresa was Programme Manager at the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and was responsible for managing Northern Ireland participation in a range of EU INTERREG cross border, transnational and interregional funding programmes.  She has also worked at the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) building the capacity of local government in EU funding and EU policy development.

Teresa has BA (Hons) in European Business Studies with French and a Masters of Business Administration, both from Ulster University.

Have your say – Peace Plus Stakeholder Events

PEACE PLUS is a new EU cross-border programme that will contribute to a more prosperous and stable society in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.

The programme will achieve this by funding activities that promote peace and reconciliation, and contribute to the cross-border economic and territorial development of the region. It will build upon previous PEACE and INTERREG Programmes.

The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUBP) seeking your input to help shape the content of this programme.

A series of information events are taking place between December 2019 and February 2020, running from 6pm-8pm, with registration from 5.30pm.

The stakeholder engagement process will start on 10 December 2019 and end on 25 February 2020.

Date County Venue Register
Tue 10 December Donegal Jacksons Hotel, Ballybofey Click Here
Wed 8 January Leitrim Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill Click Here
Thu 9 January Sligo Sligo Park Hotel, Sligo Click Here
Mon 13 January Derry – Londonderry Lodge Hotel,

Coleraine

Click Here
Wed 15 January Monaghan Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan Click Here
Thu 16 January Cavan Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan Click Here
Mon 20 January Derry – Londonderry Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry Click Here
Tue 21 January Tyrone Corrick House Hotel, Clogher Click Here
Thu 23 January Fermanagh Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen Click Here
Mon 27 January Down Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle Click Here
Thu 30 January Antrim Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena Click Here
Tue 4 February Armagh Armagh City Hotel, Armagh Click Here
Wed 5 February Antrim Belfast City Hall, Belfast Click Here
Thu 6 February Louth Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk Click Here

Full documentation, including an online response form, is available below:

PEACE PLUS Stakeholder Engagement – Information Document

PEACE PLUS Stakeholder Engagement – Survey Questions: Guidance Document

Formal responses to the information events should be made using the link below. (Please note that there are designated word limits for each question, based on approximate word character averages).

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PEACEPLUS  

CoR Launches 2021 European Entrepreneurial Region Award

The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) award is an initiative of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) that identifies and rewards EU regions and cities with outstanding, future oriented entrepreneurial strategies. The territories with the most visible, forward-looking and promising political vision are granted the EER label for a specific year.

To date, thirty EU regions and cities have been awarded the EER label, including two Irish winners – the Northern and Western Region (2018) and Kerry County (2011).

EER Award 2021 – Apply until 31st March 2020!

3231 EER label

The EER label helps regions and cities support SMEs and entrepreneurship by implementing the new EU SME Strategy at local and regional level, building on the continuity of the previous initiatives such as the Small Business Act (2009) and the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative (2016). The EER label is an opportunity for local and regional actors to demonstrate how SMEs and entrepreneurs can increase the resilience of their economy, embracing today’s challenges that will shape the world of tomorrow: demographic change, digitalisation and a transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy.

The lead theme of the EER 2021 call for applications is Entrepreneurship for a green & sustainable future. As part of the new call for applications, up to three regions will be awarded the EER label for the year 2021. Among them, EER jury may award one thematic EER label in recognition for the application’s commitment and link with the lead theme of the EER.

Regions and cities that are ready to implement a future-oriented entrepreneurial strategy are invited to apply until 31 March 2020 by e-mail to eer-cdr@cor.europa.eu.

Further details, including the application form can be found on the EER page.

 

Source: https://cor.europa.eu/en/engage/Documents/EER/EER-Awards-2021/4200-EER-Leaflet-EN.pdf 

Natura 2000 Award: Call for top nature conservation initiatives

Natura 2000 is the European Union network of protected areas. It consists of an enormous variety of different sites across the continent, aiming to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species, safeguarding them for future generations. It provides a wide range of products and services beneficial to society and the economy. The Natura 2000 network is founded on two pioneering pieces of EU legislation – the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive – and plays an essential role in halting biodiversity loss in the EU. Today the network, one of the EU’s outstanding achievements, consists of over 27 500 terrestrial and marine sites, covering around 18.6 % of Europe’s land and over 9.5 % of the surrounding seas, across nine biogeographic regions.

The Natura 2000 Award is dedicated to rewarding excellence in the management and promotion of the network and its objectives, and to raising awareness about Natura 2000 and its benefits to European citizens. To this end, in addition to the prizes for five categories attributed by an experts jury, an “EU Citizens’ Award” goes to the application receiving the highest number of preferences through an open public vote on the Award website.

About the Natura 2000 Award 2020

The Award is open to any organisation or person involved in Natura 2000, including public and local authorities, businesses, NGOs, land owners, educational institutions and individuals. The application period runs until 30 September. The Award Ceremony will take place around 21 May 2020, next year’s Natura 2000 Day. The Award is given out in six categories: Conservation; Socio-Economic Benefits; Communication; Reconciling Interests/Perceptions and Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking as well as a European Citizens’ Award. Introduced for the first time in 2015, the Citizens’ Award provides the general public with an opportunity to vote for their favourite project. So far over 100 000 votes were cast between 2015 and 2018.

According to a previous winner, NGO Callisto from Greece, winner of the 2018 Reconciling Interests Award, the award brought a significant increase in attention from local and national media and corresponding interest from the public and decision makers. This has led to increased fundraising opportunities and has had positive effects on helping to achieve the organisations’ nature objectives.

For more information on how to apply, please consult the website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/awards/how-to-apply/index_en.htm

 

Preparations for the first Interreg NWE impact event underway

NWE Making an Impact!

The Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) programme is pleased to announce its first impact event on 4 and 5 December 2019, which will take place in Tourcoing (Lille agglomeration, Hauts-de-France) at La Chaufferie.

Over a day and a half, this transnational event will focus on the results achieved by the 83 NWE projects funded so far, and how to further support their uptake and impact.

Through a wide variety of sessions and formats, the programme will offer unique opportunities for participants to network, exchange and explore new potential collaborations:

  • An opening plenary session will open the discussion on the programme’s result orientation and the need to maximise the impact of projects throughout the NWE territory.
  • The project forum and exhibition area will constitute a dynamic and interactive networking platform, where NWE beneficiaries will have the opportunity to showcase their work and the changes they brought in North-West Europe.
  • Site visits in the Lille agglomeration will allow participants to discover what some NWE projects have achieved on the ground on various topics ranging from social innovation to circular economy.
  • Thematic workshops on some of the main topics addressed by our programme (such as health, energy efficiency, green constriction, marine energy…), will give the floor to project partners to discuss their needs, find synergies and elaborate ideas for further cooperation.
  • New support opportunities to further rollout project results and ensure their uptake will be presented.

“NWE Making an impact!” is aimed at project partners as well as decision makers at European, National and Local level. Registration will open early September. Further information is available on www.nweurope.eu Save the date and stay tuned!

Interreg NPA – final call

Interreg NPA Secretariat launched the programme’s seventh and last call for main project applications, which remains open until 30th September 2019. For the Seventh call for main applications, the Monitoring Committee has agreed to three Strands:

  1. Main project target only to Priority Axis 2, Specific Objective 2.2 and Priority Axis 4.
  2. Capitalisation projects: applications under this Strand will have to focus on three alternative experimental approaches (Rollout, Policy Influencer, Transnationalisation) capitalising on the achievements of previously successful NPA projects.
  3. Disruptive technologies projects: projects to explore the practical application of new technologies to existing industries.

Terms of Reference have been formulated encouraging applicants to address specific actions, target groups, and sectors. The Terms of Reference can be found in the announcement document. The Monitoring Committee will decide on Seventh Call applications on 5th December 2019.

In order to support applicants, the Joint Secretariat is organising two webinars. The first webinar will be held on 4th July at 12:00 Copenhagen time via Facebook live. The date of the second webinar will be announced in due course.

 

 

European Week of Regions and Cities 2019 is around the corner!

European Week of Regions and Cities – a Yearly Regional Conference held in Brussels

The 2019 European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), organised by the European Commission in partnership with the Committee of the Regions, will take place in Brussels from October 7th to 10th.

European Week of Regions and Cities in a Nutshell

At the beginning of October, over 6000 participants and speakers from all over Europe will gather together in Brussels for a programme of over 150 working sessions, exhibitions and networking events on regional and local development.

An annual event, EWRC brings together representatives from local and regional authorities, EU networks, universities and private practitioners working on regional and urban policies to showcase how regions and cities can tackle key challenges to implement the objectives of Cohesion Policy.

Each edition of EWRC targets varying thematic priorities, with this year’s edition focusing on:

  • The future of the EU and the roles of regions and cities
  • A Europe closer to citizens
  • A greener Europe
  • A more socially integrated Europe
  • A smarter Europe
  • A more connected Europe.

We are pleased to announce that Galway 2020 Capital of Culture will host a session as part of the official EWRC programme on 8th October. Together with colleagues from Danish and Dutch regions, Galway will share their experiences on the link between regional development and culture.

Previous editions also showed strong presence from Irish regional and local authorities, including Sligo County Council co-partnering in a session on solidarity and volunteering; Donegal County Council participating in a session on internationalization of SMEs via Interreg Europe; and Northern Western Regional Assembly sharing experiences from the European Entrepreneurial Regions initiative.

As a yearly tradition, the EWRC also hosts the REGIOSTARS Ceremony, which this year will take place on 9th October. An annual Cohesion Policy award, REGIOSTARS honours EU-funded projects demonstrating excellence and new approaches in regional development.

How to get involved?

There is still time to get involved and host a session! The organisers are accepting applications for side events relating to the thematic priorities of EWRC and the online application forms are available on the EWRC website.

More sessions with the participation of Irish local and regional authorities will become known with the publication of the official EWRC programme, which is now available online, along with the registration forms. Participants wishing to attend are asked to create an EU Login before proceeding to register for their selected sessions (details available here).

The European Commission also launched #EURegionsWeek which provides news and updates on the conference and allows participants to already engage in discussions on all social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.