Open Days in Portugal

Exemplary initiatives and projects on the border between Galicia and North of Portugal. The Ister-Granum introduced itself on the Open Days

The Ister-Granum EGTC represented itself on the 1st Open Days organized by the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation Galicia – Norte de Portugal between 6-8 July in Vigo, Braga and Porto.

The main purpose of the event organized with the support of the Committee of the Regions was to show the EU representatives and other European partners those projects and activities which are implemented in the Euroregion Galicia – Norte de Portugal in the field of research, innovation, development, mobility and tourism.

There were a lot of things to see indeed, because in the euroregion which lies on the Portuguese-Spanish border, with 50.858 km2 territory, there are a lot of bottom-up initiatives, since everyone feels the importance of cross-border cooperation. The participants could see many good examples during the presentation of the cross-border projects initiated and managed by universities, non-profit entities, laboratories, companies and national parks.
During the visit in the Galicia Automotive Technology Center the participants could learn about the MOBI2GRID program of 1.8 million euro budget, within the framework of which electric filling stations and related monitoring system and infrastructure will be developed along the A3 highway which connects Portugal and Spain. The 70% of the program is financed from EU funds and the remaining 30% by the participants of the project and private investors (the two countries in fifty-fifty proportion).

In the context of innovation, environment and economy a project was presented, which aims to improve the competitiveness of those SMEs which deal with renewable energy. To remove the borders is the aim of the co-operations, which hasten the approval of professional qualifications to improve mobility of workers on both sides of the border. The “Two countries, One Destination” project presents the territory of the euroregion as one tourist destination. Besides the presentation of projects the euroregion’s key issues were discussed, too.

The participation in this event was very useful because we could meet and exchange experiences with the representatives of other EGTCs and the important players of the euroregional cooperation, too. Martín Guillermo Ramírez (Association of European Border Regions), Alfonso Alcoea Martínez (CoR), José Antonio Ruiz de Casas (European Commission, DG Regional Policy, Transnational and Interregional Cooperation Unit) and David Sweet (European Commission, DG Regional Policy) were present, from whom David Sweet presented the proposal of the Europe 2020 strategy.

It can be concluded that the event reached its ultimate goal which was to promote cross-border cooperation, and present the Euroregion Galicia – Norte de Portugal, which works successfully and develops dynamically even despite the economic crisis.