From the 7th to the 10th October our IVY volunteer Jonas attended the “European Week of Regions and Cities” at the EU headquarters in Brussels. This annual four-day event brings together over 6000 people involved in regional policy.
One of the most important tools for regional development in the EU is the Interreg programme. Interreg projects are a series of projects to improve cooperation of regions throughout the EU. Therefore 10 Interreg Volunteers were invited to participate in the week and promote the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY). The European Wilderness Society is a project partner in two Interreg projects, BEECH POWER and Centralparks, for which we now have 3 IVYs joining our team. So, one of the invited volunteers was our Centralparks volunteer Jonas.
Please also read: Engaging Locals With Insect Respect
A different world
During the week, Jonas could experience the EU firsthand. After an opening at the European Parliament, there was a fair of Interreg projects and a variety of workshop, sessions and presentations. There, government officials, journalists, researchers and representatives of many different organisations and regions came together to discuss how regional policy can strengthen Europe. The culture at the EU with its around 50 000 employees and many political constraints is naturally different from in our small office in Tamsweg. But it’s always interesting to dive into this world, which sets the framework, in which we operate.
It was amazing to see how passionate many people are about the EU.
Connecting worlds and regions
The highlight of the week for Jonas was the session of IVY. There he presented his Citizens Engagement Activity “WILDArt Majella“. The goal of these events is that “normal people” promote the Cohesion Policy directly to locals of different regions in an informal way. So, he showed how he managed to attract locals to the event and he informed them about the EU Cohesion Policy. Organizers and audience agreed that this method is often more effective than EU-officials telling people what the EU does. Everybody was happy to hear that the volunteers enjoy their work and that they have genuine passion for the mission of the European Union.