East Border Region delegation attend Annual Brussels Open Days

10 October 2013


A delegation from East Border Region travelled to Brussels earlier this month to participate in the annual Brussels Open Days. The Open Days is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.

During the Open Days East Border Region along with the other four Local Authority Led Cross Border Groups who cover the entire Ireland/Northern Ireland border area hosted a cross border seminar entitled "Looking to the Future Post 2013". During the seminar EBR Chairman Cllr Gerald Mallon welcomed the opportunity to discuss the future programmes and the role of the Groups within them "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to present the views of the Cross Border Groups as I strongly believe we are a unique asset to the INTERREG Programme. We are truly committed to cross border co-operation and economic development and are best placed to represent the needs of our Region".

The EBR delegation comprised of Chairman Cllr Gerald Mallon, Vice Chair Cllr Alan McDowell, EBR Chief Executive Ms Pamela Arthurs, EBR INTERREG Programme Manager Mrs Dette Hughes and EBR Project Co-ordinator Mrs Aveen McVeigh. East Border Region currently implements 12 Projects totalling €32.4 million funded through the EU INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme.

The five Local Authority Led Groups also hosted an evening reception in the Northern Ireland Office in Brussels which documented the contribution of the groups to cross border co-operation in the Ireland / N Ireland Border Region. Through an informative DVD attendees received a flavour of how INTERREG funding has transformed the Ireland/ N Ireland border area.

Over the years, the Open Days has grown into the key event on EU Regional Policy. It welcomes some 6000 participants in October each year (local, regional, national and European decision-makers and experts) for more than 100 workshops and debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities.

Ms Arthurs highlighted the value in attending the annual event "it is vital for Organisations such as East Border Region to ensure we have our voices heard on the European stage. During Open Days you have the ear of key influencers on the so it is important we effectively use this platform to highlight our achievements to date and to put forward our proposals for future EU Programme".

The proposal put forward by the five groups in relation to the INTERREG V programming period is based on each group developing a Strategic Plan which clearly addresses the cross border needs of the region and complements EU and National Strategies. The plan would be delivered through a bottom up approach and local delivery would key to its success. The Local Authority Led Cross Border Groups will continue to input into the consultation process relating to the structure of the INTERREG V Programme both at EU and National level in order to ensure a workable format which addresses the needs of our Region is achieved.

  • Monaghan
  • LCC
  • MCC
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council