‘Isolation’ may be the word of 2020, but Europe remains defined by its spirit of community. The second edition of ‘This is Europe’ podcast focuses on ‘Neighbours’, after the first episode featured a project from Interreg Baltic Sea Region on ‘Green Europe’. It comes with stories from across the EU of collaboration, friendship, and neighbourliness. In this episode, Shahidha Bari hears from members of the Interreg community who are working together, across borders, to shape the future of the EU, and establish meaningful connections with their European neighbours.
A new tram line connects the French city of Strasbourg to Kehl, its German neighbour. Cathy Gebhart-Levy, a mobility planner for Strasbourg, takes us on a ride over the river Rhine, to explore the ways the new tram has strengthened a relationship with a long and complex history. Plus, we hear from the locals on either side of the border who have benefited from the Interreg Upper Rhine co-funded initiative, as opportunities for employment, housing, and culture spring up beside the newly created tracks.
In some of the harder-to-reach pockets of Europe, opportunities for neighbourly connection require a little bit of imagination. Andrej Medved is the head of Šmarje, a village in rural Slovenia, where he is turning the tide on a familiar story of depopulation with bold and innovative projects that bring the opportunities of Europe directly into the heart of his small community. Shahidha hears about one of those initiatives, the Interreg Alpine Space co-funded Smart Villages, which gives rural communities access to impressive digital infrastructure, boosting the reach of local businesses.
On the coastlines of Europe, communities built around the ancient practice of fishing are adapting to new regulations and environmental targets. As a consequence, it has never been more difficult for small-scale fishing operations to meaningfully profit from their work, but one Interreg MED initiative, TOURISMED, is shining a light on a possible path into the future of this cherished industry. We head to a small coastal town in Spain, where one fisherman has identified an opportunity at the intersection of tradition and innovation. Join us for a day out on a trawler, as intrepid tourists gain perspective-altering insight into a world that is all too often unseen.
In the next episode of “This is Europe” we hear a few stories about how Interreg brings neighbours together. Don’t miss it! Subscribe here.