European Cooperation Day kicked off on 15 September 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia during an event organised by the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. Corina Cretu, Commissioner for EU Regional and Urban Policy, opened the conference together with Peter Pellegrini, Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatisation, Iskra Mihaylova, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee, and Petr Osvald, 1st Vicepresident of the European Committee of the Regions.
The launch of European Cooperation Day highlighted Interreg contribution to the overall Cohesion policy. It was presented by Vicente Rodriguez, Deputy Head of Unit DG Regio - European Commission, Petra Masacova, Head of the Managing Authority/Interact Secretariat, and Erwin Siweris, Programme Director of Interreg Europe.
Vicente Rodriguez described European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg), one of the two goals of EU Cohesion Policy. He addressed the main changes for 2014-2020 including thematic concentration, result orientation and strategic approach. He also gave an overview of the different strands of programmes: interregional, transnational and cross-border.
Petra Masacova introduced the main objectives of the campaign, which targets local communities in Europe and neighbouring countries by showcasing project results and more. She stressed the fact that cooperation projects reduce disparities, improve cultural understanding between regions as well as improve the quality of life of the population.
Erwin Siweris presented Interreg Europe as a key programme in regional development and reinforcing the effectiveness of Cohesion policy. He addressed the geographical and thematic focus of the programme including its four objectives: research and innovation, SMEs and competitiveness, environment and resource efficiency and low carbon economy. The main actions to deliver the above include projects and policy learning platforms.
European Cooperation Day celebrates its fifth year anniversary. Over 700 local events have taken place in Europe and beyond where more than 70 Interreg, Interreg-IPA CBC and ENI CBC programmes have been actively involved in the organisation. European Cooperation Day is coordinated by the Interact Programme with the support of the European Commission, European Parliament and Committee of the Regions.