On December 7, the closing conference of Interreg V-A Latvia–Lithuania Programme 2014–2020 took place in Vilnius, gathering 125 participants. Among them were Latvian Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania Solveiga Silkalna, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania Arnoldas Abramavičius, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia Ilze Dambīte-Damberga, as well as other representatives of both ministries, the European Commission, and partner institutions of projects financed by the Programme.
Addressing the audience, Ms. Ilze Dambīte-Damberga emphasized that the bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Lithuania in the form of the Interreg programmes has been going on for 20 years, making a huge contribution to the development of border regions. She expressed her satisfaction that the Programme’s achievements are appreciated not only in the Programme’s regions and in both countries, but on a much wider international scale.
Mr. Arnoldas Abramavičius, emphasized the important contribution of the Programme, stating that by exchanging ideas and achieving common goals, the cross-border cooperation Programme of Latvia and Lithuania brings the two neighbouring countries closer together. Cooperation in the form of the Programme is not only effective, but sometimes the only way to solve problems affecting both border regions and territories beyond them.
During the conference, the attendees were introduced to the achievements of the Programme and project success stories. Also, experts from the company “Safege Baltija”, which carried out the impact evaluation of the of the Programme, shared their conclusions about how important the contribution of the Programme is to the development of the border regions of Latvia and Lithuania.
Thanks to 132 projects supported and cooperation of more than 500 partner organizations involved in their implementation – state and regional institutions, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and local residents, a lot has been done to make Programme regions more competitive and attractive for living, working and visiting:
- new tourist routes with a total length of tens of thousands of km were created,
- 38 ha of degraded areas were rehabilitated,
- 46 km of cross-border roads were reconstructed,
- 4,454 people participated in training to improve their competitiveness in the labour market,
- 102 social inclusion measures were created or improved,
- 97 communities participated in activities to improve living conditions in their place of residence and
- 190 institutions cooperated to improve the services offered to citizens.
At the final conference in Vilnius City Hall, the best 12 projects were awarded awarded projects were selected by the members of the Programme Monitoring Committee members from the Programme regions: Kurzeme, Zemgale, Latgale in Latvia and Klaipėda, Telšiai, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, Utena and Kaunas counties in Lithuania.
Also, three most popular videos created by the Programme’s projects, which were selected by public vote from the 37 submitted videos, were awarded.