19 April 2023
About Interreg, smart solutions and remarkable results
Ilga Gruševa, the Monitoring Committee member from Latvia, has helped shape the Programme for more than 10 years. Read about her experiences and benefits the Programme has brought to Latvia.
Anna Gałyga: What are your best memories related to Interreg Baltic Sea Region?
My best memories are related to the programming process when the Programme is being developed. It is when the Member States, in cooperation with the Programme stakeholders and the society, identify common challenges and opportunities in the region. This process is always very exciting and intensive. And after developing the Programme, it is also very interesting to look back and evaluate the achieved results. And I can say – with great satisfaction – that these results are remarkable!
Can you tell us more about those results and benefits for Latvia in particular?
Over the years, the projects supported by the Programme have effectively addressed many territorial, economic and social developments that go beyond borders. They also explored opportunities to further shape the region.
For example, in the project Smart and Safe Workwear Clothing (SWW), the Riga Technical University facilitated the transfer of knowledge about intelligent solutions and integration of innovative IT technologies into clothing. New ideas were tested in production and in real working conditions, also by the national armed forces. As a result, the project increased the competitiveness of companies in Latvia and other countries in the region against cheap imports.
Another good example is the project Land-Sea-Act where national and regional public authorities, coastal authorities, NGOs and businesses planned together how to use the land and sea space on the Baltic Sea coast for the benefit of local communities.
In the project cities.multimodal, municipalities successfully developed urban mobility plans, established mobility points and actively involved citizens in the planning processes. Some districts in Riga were chosen as pilot areas in this project, which helped make the city better connected. In another transport project MAMBA, the Mazsalaca and Alūksne municipalities tested and implemented novel transport-on-demand services. Thanks to the project, mobility in rural areas has been improved.
In Latvia, we are especially proud of those partners who took the lead partner role in Interreg projects. Here I can name for example the project InnoFruit, which created a sustainable network of fruit-growing companies to make them more competitive in the Baltic Sea region market.
All these examples prove how Interreg has contributed to the development of the region, making it more innovative, competitive, sustainable, better connected and more attractive for the people. It is so much about exchanging knowledge and testing new methods and solutions.
What do you think would not have been possible without Interreg?
I think we would not have joint management of common resources in the region if there was no Interreg Baltic Sea Region. We would have also missed the possibility to build capacities of public authorities, which is so important for the region.
What would you like to wish Interreg Baltic Sea Region on its 25th anniversary?
Make even more effective use of Interreg Baltic Sea Region’s knowledge environment and cross-sectoral cooperation across borders to improve the quality of life for its inhabitants. There is no time to postpone the action. We, in Latvia, as members of the Monitoring Committee, encourage potential applicants to use the opportunities provided by the Programme and apply for funding. You can build on the achieved results, capitalise on the knowledge and identify the gaps where improvements are needed. You can take an active role in bringing tangible benefits of the region!
What associations with Interreg do you have?
The first one that comes to my mind is the community in which cooperation plays a key role. The next one is cohesion and the opportunity to learn from the best. Smart solutions are also quite important as they enable to use of the potential of the region as efficiently as possible and to react to unpredictable circumstances in the future.
This year, our Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more examples of #MadeWithIBSR project results and testimonials of great people who have helped shape the regions with us, visit our birthday celebrations page!
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