Final WiFi4EU Call launches 4th June

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 4th June 2020 at 13.00 CET, until 17.00 CET on 4th June 2020.

The opening date of the fourth and final call of the WiFi4EU initiative has been recently changed by the European Commission, accounting for COVID-19 pandemic. 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 4th June 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

 

Intelligent Cities Challenge – Applications Open

APPLY BY 29 MAY TO TRANSFORM YOUR CITY!

Building on the success of the Digital Cities Challenge, the European Commission launched the follow-up Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC). This programme will offer 100 cities across the EU the unique opportunity to join a community that leverages advanced technologies to tackle the ongoing pandemic and reconstruct their economies while steering them in the direction of green, smart, sustainable growth. Taking part in the challenge will help cities to improve their citizens’ quality of life and to create new opportunities for their business communities.

WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN?

Selected cities will receive high-quality, tailored guidance and expert support, access to European and international advisory and city peer networks, and capability building tools, to drive priority policy goals and the uptake of advanced technologies.

Through its action-oriented and collaborative approach, the ICC will support cities to:

  • Identify local strengths and needs to setpriorities through performance assessments, the definition of strategic goals and the implementation roadmaps
  • Engage in long-termcollaborations to co-design and co-create approaches to digital transformation, such open data, city solutions and collective investments/procurements
  • Learn from and share experiences with local and international peers and mentors

HOW TO APPLY?

Cities or city consortiums can apply by filling in the ICC Expression of Interest and submitting it to the ICC website by 29 May 2020 11:59 p.m. CET.

To find out more about the challenge and the application process, please consult the ICC Concept Note and Guide for Applicants.

GET IN TOUCH

Do you have a question about the ICC? Browse the FAQs or contact the helpdesk.
If you want to receive updates about the outcomes of the Intelligent Cities Challenge, please sign up for the newsletter.

 

Source: https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/ 

Update – European Entrepreneurial Regions (EER) 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 reopened

This special edition of the EER aims to encourage EU regions and cities to develop strategies for boosting entrepreneurship and SMEs, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The applications have been reopened and merged 2021 application process with the next one, extending the implementation of the EER label over two years – 2021 and 2022. The lead theme is Entrepreneurship and sustainable recovery and deadline for applications is 28 October 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.

Further details on how to apply can be found here as well as on the EER page.

 

 

LIFE 2020 calls for proposals now open

The European Commission has launched its 2020 call for project proposals under the LIFE programme. Measures have also been taken to make it easier for interested parties to apply in times of coronavirus restrictions, including extended deadlines.

This year, the European Commission have earmarked more than €450 million for nature conservation, environmental protection and climate action projects.

What types of projects does LIFE fund?

LIFE funds projects under its environment and climate action sub-programmes, thereby helping implement the European Green Deal.

Most LIFE projects are so-called traditional projects that can be coordinated by any legal entity registered in the EU. These include public institutions, businesses and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). A lot of traditional projects show best-practices, run pilots, raise public awareness or demonstrate breakthroughs in environmental practices.

Applications are also being accepted for bigger so-called integrated projects. These projects run strategic EU plans on the environment and the climate and tend to have a regional, multi-regional, national or trans-national dimension.

How to apply

Applying for traditional projects with a climate change focus involves submitting a full proposal by October 2020. This includes proposals for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects as well as climate governance and information initiatives.

For traditional projects that address environmental and nature themes, there is a two-stage application process: candidates first outline their idea in a concept note by July 2020. If your concept note is shortlisted, you will then have until February 2021 to submit a full project proposal. The two-stage process covers nature conservation and biodiversity, environment and resource efficiency, as well as environmental governance and information projects.

Applications for integrated projects also follow a two-stage process.

You can find more information on how to apply on the 2020 LIFE call for proposals page and join the LIFE virtual conference on 30th April, which will provide further insights on this call. 

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