The Regional Cooperation Magazine - Issue 5

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Regional Cooperation Magazine

Credits: Twitter @vonderleyen



Regional Cooperation Magazine

Contents 2

Regional Funds Week 2021 - Conclusions, Results and… a special thanks to our Family


Director’s Editorial


Asylum, Migration, Security: Europe’s problem a political one, not a refugee problem


Thank you for joining Lviv conference!


Shrinking civic space and the need for a European civil society strategy


Cooperation, Displacement, and diversity


The press event of the project «SUPMed» took place online by the Chamber of Heraklion


Increased competitiveness by integrating innovation, research and education


Report on the First Regional Forum on the role of women in innovation decision making


Digitalization, circular economy and climate change: How the union of those concepts can ameliorate our societies


Working on radicalisation prevention as a European network


Contributors & Credits


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Regional Funds Week 2021

Conclusions, Results and… a special thanks to our Family The Regional Funds Week, organised from 6th to 10th December as a virtual version of the Annual Seminar, ended with a nice “question and answer” time between Grethe Haugoy and Nora Mehsen. With the presence of Malgorzata Nowak, Gian Luca Bombarda and Mateusz Wiśniewski representing the Fund Operator, Grethe and Nora explained how, respectively, they represent the past and future of the Funds, ensuring continuity to the objectives our Projects are reaching.

The main goal achieved during this week is that, together, we have reached important results: we had in only one week almost 1000 participants registered, more than 40 people and up to 80 at a time participated at the different round tables and it has been satisfactory to follow our Projects’ social media channels enriched with invitations to visit their stands. Our Instagram and Facebook fan pages increased in terms of likes and re-posting and, we have to admit, it was great to register those numbers. We started with two important sessions dedicated respectively to the Youth Employment and the Regional Cooperation Funds, moments were we listened interventions coming from some “Friends”. We are referring to our loyal readers and writers of our Online Magazines: another great success has been represented by the words dedicated to our platform confirming the networking strategies they contributed to consolidate in the past months. We really appreciated the words coming from Hjörtur Sverrisson, Head of Funds and Horizontal Concerns Unit for FMO and Rannveig Skofteland, representing the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. !2

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The Regional Funds Week run with 15 special conferences organised and held by the Projects in first person. There is no need to repeat all the topics covered since they all have been linked to the Funds’ main goals. At the end of the RFW 2021, all the Projects gathered the achievements reached through those round tables. It has been important to realise how efforts were put together, therefore, a big thanks goes to the Projects’ engagement. Due to this success, the Fund Operator decided to leave the dedicated Platform open until the 20th of December, thanks as well to the confirmation of its importance in terms of the possibility to create additional cluster and network initiatives. One can talk about numbers and topics, but – talking about the whole FMO and FO Team, the main achievement is that we all demonstrated the value of being a Family. We hope, at the very end, that you all felt to be an important part of it.

Thank you for being an active part of the Regional Funds Week, The Fund Operator Team


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And finally… a look behind the scenes For those who have made it this far, we have also prepared a short piece in which we reveal the details of the entire technical background of this year's Regional Funds Week. Although our event was held entirely online – we moved not only the meeting rooms, but also the exhibition hall and project presentation stands to a virtual space – the whole thing was supervised as much as possible offline.

In order to be able to carry out our development, a temporary headquarters was organised in one of the rented office spaces in Rome, where all the technical team, FO representatives and invited moderators who managed to get to Italy gathered. A studio was set up in the building, where necessary technical equipment – computers, lights, stable Internet connection, stage design, sound system – was collected to allow all points of the programme to run smoothly. All in all, a dozen or so people passed through our quarters in Rome during the week, and all this under a sanitary regime. The on-site team made sure that every participant logged on on time, solved any technical problems in real time, and ”directed” all the meetings on the Zoom platform. The group effort paid off and resulted in a great, attractive event, which attracted almost a thousand participants. See you next year – who knows, in what format! Mateusz Wiśniewski Francesca Bombarda !4

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Director’s Editorial Dear Friends, It is with pleasure that I announce we have reached the last issue for this 2021. This has been, for the Regional Cooperation Online Magazine, the first year. Our Regional Cooperation Fund’s Projects vary in terms of specific objectives and areas of intervention, but they are all contributing at common goals, deriving from the same challenges, shared within the EEA and Norway Grants entire community. The Fund for Youth Employment, indeed, is part of the same process. As you already know, the organised Regional Fund Week has been an important test bench for this concept, demonstrating the true meaning of our idea of Family. Regional Cooperation and Youth Employment Projects collaborated together, and they reached important results in terms of effects with respect to our audience. Our dedicated platform reached almost 1000 registered visitors!! Besides, this is what has been confirmed by the evaluations we decided to send out: a request for feedback in the form of an online questionnaire was sent and the overall reception of the Regional Funds Week was very good. Most of the respondents were very satisfied. The main result, and most important for us, is that the majority stated that they are likely to take part in future meetings held by FMO and FO!! Therefore, thanking for the praises and words of encouragement to keep up the good work, we have to start thinking about the next steps :) Luckily, in our opinion, we face a great opportunity: 2022 will be the European Year of Youth and we will be in. Or, better, we have to be part of it, considering that actions towards youth have always been our core target from the beginning, despite the different areas of interventions. Following the direct words of the European Commission, and particularly the announcement made by the President Ursula von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address, the Commission adopted the formal proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth: «Europe needs the vision, engagement and participation of all young people to build a better future, that is greener, more inclusive and digital. With this proposal, Europe is striving to give young people more and better opportunities for the future». In the words of President von der Leyen: «Europe belongs to youth», therefore «Europe must work first and foremost for the next generation». This last issue, then, is not only collecting the most recent updates from our projects. It wants as well to be a sort of call to action. We are convinced that next year will be another fundamental milestone for successful outcomes. And being a Family, while this is the December issue of the Regional Cooperation Magazine, we are extending this thought to all of you, taking into consideration the Fund for Youth Employment and also any member which would like to be an active part of our efforts.


Regional Cooperation Magazine We cannot not mention our Teaser about the Visual storytelling workshop, organised thanks to our collaboration with Tara Todras-Whitehill: our info-comm managers know they have to let us know something… while at the same time we are looking forward to seeing, in the early future, the results of this specific communication activity. For sure we will come back to you, and in addition to that we will involve you in the programming phase for next year: we would like to decide with all the Projects the topics/themes for the next issues. We all have the same goal: we can act in different manners but, at the very end, we are travelling in the same direction. Do you want to be part of this path? We hope to receive positive answers, which will be concretised through the active participation into our next activities and initiatives. Stay tuned to know our next steps. Happy new year to everyone that is reading us and accompanying us on this process. Gian Luca Bombarda Fund Director


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Asylum, Migration, Security: Europe’s problem a political one, not a refugee problem States have been granting protection to individuals and groups fleeing persecution for centuries. However, the modern refugee regime is largely the product of the second half of the twentieth century. Modern refugee law has its origins, like international human rights law, in the aftermath of World War II as well as the refugee crises of the interwar years that preceded it. Article 14 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, guarantees the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries. Subsequent regional human rights instruments have elaborated on this right, guaranteeing the “right to seek and be granted asylum in a foreign territory, in accordance with the legislation of the state and international conventions.” The Geneva Convention Related to the Status of Refugees is the main source of legal protections for refugees, and provides a specific definition of refugee, safeguards the right to seek asylum and protects against being forcibly returned to a country where one would face persecution. The Refugee Convention contains certain rights provisions- protection from refoulement, protection against unlawful expulsion or detention, the right to employment and education, access to the courts, and freedom of movement. Based on the UN Refugee

Convention, most European states have clear rules and procedures to determine who has the right to asylum. The systems may be in place, but they need to be implemented based on a European sharing of responsibilities. Since the early seventies European Governments have been trying, with different levels of success/failure, to limit or manage immigration and refugee flows into their territories. This has been no more than a qualified success. Attempts to restrict access to asylum seekers, or curtail their rights, have resulted in a corresponding increase in the levels of illegal migration. They have also undermined states’ commitments to protect genuine refugees. Measures to restrict illegal entry have forced migrants and refugees to attempt more dangerous routes and means to enter Europe. Successive, recent tragedies in the Mediterranean and English Channel testify to the desperation of those employing the services of smuggling and trafficking networks. Ever since the Schengen visa regime was introduced in southern Europe in 1991, which interrupted relatively free trans-Mediterranean movement, migrants and border patrollers have been involved in watch and waiting game, resulting in constant shifting and changing of maritime and overland crossing points. Instead

of stopping border crossings, it created new markets for smugglers who promise to help migrants to cross borders without getting caught. Migratory movements of people in recent years showed the complexity of European migration management. This is a constant feature of human history and has a profound impact on European society, economy and culture. Managed well, migration can contribute to growth, innovation and social dynamism. An effective system that manages and normalises migration should ensure secure external borders, respect for fundamental rights and free movement within the Schengen Area. In order to benefit from opportunities and tackle challenges, the European Commission proposed, in September 2020, the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. This sets out the European Commission's current approach to migration in the bloc. It addresses border management and aspires to integrate the internal and external dimensions of migration policies. It aims to create more efficient and fair migration processes, reduce unsafe and irregular routes and promote sustainable and safe legal pathways to those in need of protection. !7

Regional Cooperation Magazine The New Pact introduces: •

• • •

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Effective and fair management of external borders, including identity, health and security checks; Fair and efficient asylum rules, streamlining procedures on asylum and return; A new solidarity mechanism for situations of search and rescue, pressure and crisis; Stronger foresight, crisis preparedness and response; Efficient, EU-coordinated approach to returns; Comprehensive governance at EU level for better management and implementation of asylum and migration policies; Mutually beneficial partnerships with key third countries of origin and transit; Development of sustainable legal pathways for those in need of protection and to attract talent to the EU; and Support to effective integration policies.

In her State of the Union speech to the European Parliament in September, 2021 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted that progress has been painfully slow. Events in Belarus, the English Channel and the Mediterranean bear that out. However, the President continued in a gung-ho manner: “This new pact gives us everything we need to

manage the different types of situation we face. I think this is the moment now for a European migration management system. So, I urge you in this house, and in Member States, to speed up the process. I am convinced that there is a way that Europe can build trust amongst us when it comes to migration.” The above looks well on paper and in pacts, but the evidence offered by the death count of migrants and the growth in refugee/migrant camps around Europe’s borders, offers a more realistic vista. The United Nations University did not spare its words in a damning report: “There are no quick and simple fixes, but the least European politicians can do is to stop deceiving the public by going tough on migration, which only fans the flames of xenophobia and doesn’t provide any practical way to stop people suffering and dying at Europe’s borders. The real crisis is therefore a political one, not one of hordes of refugees invading Europe, which is a product of conscious political fearmongering and uncritical, sensationalist journalism. As long as politicians get away with making us believe that ‘closing borders’ will solve this problem, the problems will only get worse. The real crisis is a crisis caused by the unwillingness of European countries to get their act together and formulate a collective response by agreeing on effective responsibility sharing. Both morally and practically, this is only way to address this crisis. A second element of a more effective response is to dramatically increase

support to help refugees in neighbouring countries, so that they are not forced to move on if they prefer to stay close to home.” Thomas Mc Grath


Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Justice and Home Affairs Innovation, Research, Education and Competitiveness Social Inclusion, Youth Employment and Povery Reduction !9

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Thank you for joining Lviv conference! We are excited to announce the numbers of the first EU-WATERRES dissemination event! Without all of you it would not be possible to achieve! Our first dissemination event “Lviv conference” was held online on 9th and 10th of November. The event was divided in two parts: DAY 1 was dedicated to general introduction to most recent project results and all project stakeholders were invited, while DAY 2 addressed specifically transboundary groundwater resources shared by Poland and Ukraine and was held in national languages.

Do not worry if you could not attend the event, all presentations are available in our project homepage: Want to know more about EU-WATERRES project and stay tuned? Follow us on social media: Facebook: Twitter: And don’t miss EU-WATERRES project first video teaser on groundwater and project activities. Watch it here. Project EU-WATERRES “EU-integrated management system of crossborder groundwater resources and anthropogenic hazards”


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Shrinking civic space and the need for a European civil society strategy • András Nun, Autonómia Alapítvány, Hungary (New Solutions)

The online event "Shrinking civic space and the need for a European civil society strategy" took place on 9 December 2021 from 13.15 to 14.30 CET as part of the Regional Funds Week of the EEA and Norway Grants. The panel discussion was organised by Ökotárs – the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation, lead partner of the project "Reclaim Our Civil Space!" with participants from the project "New Solutions to Old Problems", both funded by EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. The discussion was facilitated by Veronika Móra, director at Ökotárs, and speakers were: • Ionut Sibian, Fundația pentru Dezvoltarea Societății Civile, Romania (ROCS project) • Peter Medved, Nadácia Ekopolis, Slovakia (ROCS project) • Daniel Grebeldinger, Asociatia Nevo Parudimos, Romania (New Solutions)

The discussion aimed at presenting the means and methods of bottom up approaches in capacity building of civil society organisations and to illustrate the importance of connecting grassroot activism on the local level with European wide policy making. As Veronika Móra said: “EU institutions often view CSOs as instrumental in achieving certain policy goals, but do not necessarily recognize the sector as a value and entity itself. This is why we made it our eventual goal to develop and advocate for the passing of a European civil society strategy. We need to put the issue on the EU agenda.” Speakers agreed that this is especially time with a view of the shrinking civic space observed for the past years particularly in Central and South-eastern Europe. Many CSOs face smear campaigns often because of their sheer existence, and according to András Nun „they are not accepted as agents of change, they are not taken seriously and lack acceptance and recognition”. Hence both projects prepare citizen groups – both institutionally and mentally - to defend themselves. Their bottom up approaches of capacity building help grassroot initiatives to professionalize and to gain skills in legal and financial matters. Panelists emphasized that these civic groups also need to learn how to communicate their mission and need to cooperate with and inspire other actors of the civil society. This is how civil society becomes more resilient, and developing these skills is the key to collective action and policy making on the European level: advocating for a structured European approach, which strengthens civil society through networking, knowledge transfer and many more.


Regional Cooperation Magazine These proposals now seem to be heard: e.g. Anna Donáth, MEP in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, has recently presented a draft report on shrinking civic space, recommending the development and adoption of a civil society strategy to the European Commission. More info: "Reclaim Our Civil Space!" - 
 "New Solutions To Old Problems" - Contact: Project Reclaim our Civil Space!


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Cooperation, Displacement, and diversity unpredictable epidemic situation we realized that we might be in trouble - the planned transfer of knowledge by the donor country partner, the Norwegian Beekeepers' Association (NBA), was seriously endangered. Yet the praise goes to our colleague Bjørn Dahle of NBA who worked diligently to transfer the planned events to another country and the mode of communication to hybrid and thus made sure that we were ready for the season. The cooperation runs smoothly also between other partners in the consortium allowing us to do what we planned: addressing the needs to upkeep diversity of honey bee populations and prevent their displacement by imported or commercial breeds. The winter is analysis season: we are checking our results, talking to our target groups, and evaluating the progress. At the same time, our teams are getting ready for a new season which will start in about three months. Dr Janez Prešern

In December, I have joined one of the sessions at the Regional Funds Week 2021 (Inclusive solutions to common challenges, Fund for Regional Cooperation roundtable). Though topic-wise far from my expertise or expertise of my colleagues within the BeeConSel consortium, I was deeply impressed by the diversity of thematic covered by the Fund mechanism. The keywords that stayed recorded in my brain were cooperation, displacement, and diversity. The latter two have perhaps different meanings (or let's say dimension) in biology, but word cooperation doesn't.

Project Joint Effort for Honey Bee Conservation and Selection – BeeConSel

The year 2021 was first serious test for our project. The project itself focus on bees and is thus heavily dependent on weather conditions and on personal contacts between beekeepers and experts. Faced with the changing and !13

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The press event of the project «SUPMed» took place online by the Chamber of Heraklion On Monday, December 13th, 2021, the project's press event entitled: "Reducing the consumption and distribution of single-use plastics in the tourism industry in Cyprus, Greece and Malta", also known as “SUPMed”, was held online. During the event, participants had the opportunity to get informed about the problems faced by the environment and in particular the touristic industry by the use of Single Use Plastics (SUPs), the agenda of European Union for the reduction and replacement of SUPs, what is presented within Greek Legislation for SUPs for the next years to come as well as the forecasted results and outcomes of the project. During the event, the free online Decision-support tool (DST) available for the hotels that has been developed was presented. The DST provides sustainable and available alternatives to single-use plastics, taking into account their costs and environmental impacts during their lifecycle. The event was also attended by a representative of a pilot hotel, who presented his experience of participating in SUPMed activities. The event was organized online through the Zoom platform by the Chamber of Heraklion.


Regional Cooperation Magazine For the three Mediterranean regions participating in the project (Malta, Cyprus, Crete) best practice guides will be developed to present the findings from pilot hotels, the impact of plastic waste on human health and the environment, ways to reduce single-use plastics in tourism and other sectors and more environmentally friendly and affordable alternatives available. These guides will be disseminated to SMEs, Non-Governmental / No Profit Organizations, Tourist Accommodations and other relevant stakeholders across Europe, as an additional support tool for the replacement of singleuse plastics. SUPMed project will run until June 2023 with a total budget of 1,279,405.00 euros. The six partners taking part at the consortium of the project are Aspon Consulting Ltd – Leader Partners (CY), Heraklion Chamber (GR), Anelixis Development Consultants S.S.A. (GR), Cellock Ltd (CY), AIS Environment (MT) and Cyprus Hotel Association (CY). Upon completion of the project, the partnership of SUPMed project aims to reduce the consumption, disposal and impact of single-use plastics in the tourism sector in three Mediterranean regions (Cyprus, Greece, Malta) in line with the EU Directive 2019/904 for the reduction of the impact of plastic products. The project "Reducing the consumption and disposal of single-use plastics in the tourism industry in Cyprus, Greece and Malta" is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. To get more information about the project, follow us at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn visit the SUPMed website. Project Reducing the Consumption and Disposal of Single-use Plastics in the Tourism Industry in Cyprus, Greece and Malta


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Increased competitiveness by integrating innovation, research and education grape growers in order to be able to source high quality grapes, which are one of the key factors for quality wine production. In its strive to permanently introduce novelties that would contribute to the quality of the grapes and the wine, making the products more competitive, Tikves Winery sets out to implement a unique project of benefit to local grape growers and the entire industry. This project also provides valuable information and understanding of the unique terroir and the local varieties and will contribute to improved wine promotion.

Better vineyard management through innovation and technology Vast areas of vineyards capture the eye when you visit the Tikves Wine District. It is the most prominent vine growing area in the country, producing 40% of the total grape quantities for wine production. Viticulture is an important business for the local population, while the wine industry is one of the leading agricultural branches in the economy, significantly contributing to the country’s export. The Tikves Wine District is home to the biggest and oldest Macedonian winery – Tikves Winery. Wine production under the Tikves brand dates back to 1885 and the winery has undergone many transformations during this long period of existence, continuously reinventing itself and adapting to the changing market conditions. Today, Tikves Winery is the leader of the industry, setting standards and driving change and development, not only in the country but throughout the entire South-East European region.

The nine meteorological stations located throughout the Tikves Wine District were used as a basis in a much more comprehensive undertaking for obtaining agrometeorological data within the newly established web platform Apart from centralizing the meteorological information and obtaining access to it in real time, this tool allows the ability to monitor and analyse the gathered data. The web platform also serves for obtaining and recording data related to soil characteristics and water stress, enabling vineyard control during the process of vegetation, pest control, disease management, as well as monitoring of the grapes ripening process. The gathered information enables the application of SMART eco-viticulture by lower use of pesticides and practicing techniques that result with healthier and higher quality grapes. The quality of the grapes is the basis for determining their price and apart from influencing the quality of the wines it will also have positive impact on the grape growers’ revenue.

The winery has invested substantially in latest wine production technology and equipment, in human resource development and in education of the local !16

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Contemporary research for informed decisions The web platform is complemented by a state-of-the-art soil laboratory where 1,000 grape growers will be able to analyse soil samples and thus get precise information on what variety to plant on the specific soil, as well as what kind and how much nutrients to use. In addition, the modern laboratory is equipped with an instrument for scanning grape berries and based on the results, decisions on the start of harvest for a specific area, variety and vineyard can be made. Such a laboratory creates the conditions for detailed terroir studies, research related to various clones of grape varieties, especially the local varieties Vranec and Kratoshija, yeast isolation from specific micro locations and identification of indigenous fungal species, analysis of aroma compounds and polyphenols in grapes and wines etc. This will ultimately lead to a development of a Research and Development Department to serve the entire region and also establish close cooperation with universities and institutes for joint projects and students’ involvement. These activities will lead to the development of the wine industry and the local economy, create new possibilities for innovation, advancing knowledge and expertise.

New opportunities for education The insight gained through the analyses and research carried out in the laboratory and by using the established web platform will be used as educational material for organizing grape growers’ workshops on sustainable grape production, education of young people and PhD and MSc students. It will also contribute to encouraging team work and sharing of knowledge. The first step in the educational activities has been the training of the laboratory personnel completed in the Central Laboratories of the Ljubljana Institute in Slovenia. They will further train their colleagues and sessional employees on the techniques to be applied in the analyses using the new lab instruments. The other educational activities will commence in January 2022. !17

Regional Cooperation Magazine

Increased competitiveness as the ultimate achievement The activities realized by Tikves Winery as a partner of the project “Uncorking rural heritage: indigenous production of fermented beverages for local cultural and environmental sustainability” create a hub for future research, education and innovation that will result with increased competitiveness of the wines produced by Tikves Winery and other local producers. The implemented activities provide long-term benefits for local grape producers, for students and young people looking to get involved in grape and wine production, the local economy, the environment, as well as the entire wine industry. Tikves wines are sold in over 30 markets on all continents. In 2020 alone they received 100 awards and recognitions on renowned international wine competitions. The increased quality and competitiveness of the wines will contribute to their further promotion and also to the development of wine tourism, creating even more opportunities for local young people and businesses. ¹ Zorica Lelova, Tikves Winery AD Kavadarci, Republic of North Macedonia.

8-mi Septemvri 51430 Kavadarci,

² Klemen Lisjak, PhD, Prof. Department of Fruit Growing, Viticulture and Oenology and Central Laboratory, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Hacquetova ulica 17, 1000 Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia; Expert and consultant at Tikves Winery AD Kavadarci, 8-mi Septemvri 51430 Kavadarci, Republic of North Macedonia
 3 Photo credits: Tikveš Winery, Marijan Močivnik

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Project Uncorking rural heritage: indigenous production of fermented beverages for local cultural and environmental sustainability !18

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Report on the First Regional Forum on the role of women in innovation decision making Stakeholders from Nine Countries Joined the First Regional Forum on the role of women in re-launching the economy and innovation decision making “It is Women/Business/Angels/ Association’s strong belief that by connecting business angel investment and funding with innovative companies, countries can accelerate innovation capacity building as a competitive advantage in CEE” – pointed out Eszter Szabó, founding President. “Working with CEE and Norway shows that there is a lot in common in the two places while building a stronger innovation ecosystem. We can learn from each other’s experiences and connections” – said Rita Anson from Winnetwork, Norway.

On 22 November 2021, countries of Norway, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Serbia, Romania and Moldova joined the regional forum in Budapest, supported by the International Visegrad Fund and the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. At the hybrid event titled “The role of women in re-launching the economy and innovation decision making” speakers included Marianna Neupauerová (Deputy Director, International Visegrad Fund), Irén Márta (Director, Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary), Aleksandar Bijelić (Director, SeVeN, Serbia) and Janina Lamøy (Innovation Norway). The organizing Women/Business/Angels Association (WBA) aims to connect CEE stakeholders and to share best practices from business, academia and government.

The Forum is a milestone in the efforts of Women/Business/Angels Association to invite more women into innovation and investments. Built on this stakeholder meeting WBA will present for chambers of commerce and major companies the need and opportunity to cooperate. WBA also starts a 5session angel investing and mentoring training for CEE in the first half of 2022. For more information, please visit en/ or email


Regional Cooperation Magazine Implemented by:

Click here for a more detailed summary of discussion on the forum! The WINGATE project: Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Norway Women/Business/Angels is a beneficiary partners in the WINGATE project, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. This consortium works across Norway, Serbia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova, supporting and training women entrepreneurs and women business angels. The Visegrad 4+ project: Visegrad 4+ countries Women/Business/Angels Association is the consortium leader of a project, co-funded by the International Visegrad Fund, with participating partners from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Georgia and Moldova besides Hungary. We aim to support the development of business angeldom and innovation ecosystem building in these countries and within that, the role that women play in making investment decisions in innovative startups.

Business/Women/Angels Association aims to grow the number of angel investors in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and works with its coalition partners. The Association invites a wider audience, both women and men, to gain experience, learn about new opportunities and new ways to make the region’s economy stronger while having a return on investment for each. The Association was recognized as a European Best Practice by Candace Johnson, President of EBAN in 2017. The Association is non-profit, nonpartisan. Members pay a yearly membership fee. Follow Women/Business/Angels on social media for latest news:
 Website: Project Wingate


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Digitalization, circular economy and climate change: How the union of those concepts can ameliorate our societies Today’s prevalent economic model is a linear one: raw materials are extracted, processed into final products that are used and once they reach their end of use are typically discarded and replaced with new ones. As the world is rushing to meet climate goals by 2050, shifting to a circular economy is seen as paramount in order to reach these goals. A circular economy model not only ensures resources are recovered and products are designed to play a role in the economy for as long as possible. This model helps preserve the earth’s resources and prevents the accumulation of waste in landfills. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “To achieve climate-neutrality by 2050, to preserve our natural environment, and to strengthen our economic competitiveness, requires a fully circular economy. Today, our economy is still mostly linear, with only 12% of secondary materials and resources being brought back into the economy. Many products break down too easily, cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, or are made for single use only. There is a huge potential to be exploited both for businesses and consumers. With today's plan we launch action to transform the way products are made and empower consumers to make sustainable choices for their own benefit and that of the environment.”

projects that focus on physical materials and resources. According to the World Economic Forum however, a truly circular solution must work on a global scale and to achieve this, a strong and coherent digital foundation would support and accelerate circularity across businesses and industries. The impact such a foundation would have would be similar to that the internet has had during the last 30 years as society has turned more digital. To build a digital foundation for a circular economy, the Circular Economy Internet Society, has identified five characteristics that are essential for its implementation: •

• Digitalisation is seen as key to accelerate transformation into a resourceefficient economy. So far most initiatives are in the form of individual

A global public good: The digital foundation should be politically, competitively, and commercially neutral public good so that so that not one person, organisation or government controls it. Many-to-many interoperability: It must allow for seamless and trustworthy interactions in exchange of information and transactions anywhere in the business ecosystem. Open software platform: Being designed as an open source platform, allows innovators and companies to bring individual addedvalue while contributing differentiating factors and maintaining interoperable applications. Eliminate monopolisation: The owner of the data must be able to control its sharing, in this manner, monopolising digital circular economy businesses is eliminated. Shared digital economy toolbox: Helps reduce costs, time and risk in creating new business models based on the circular economy. !21

Regional Cooperation Magazine Apart from the environmental benefits, a circular economy with a digital foundation also has significant benefits for society. Reuse of materials means products last longer and as more economic practices are encouraged, such as leasing instead of owning or buying used items results in an increased disposable income. As new industry types emerge, despite concerns of some jobs like coal mining being taken away, new and more types of jobs are created. Furthermore, a digital circular economy promises better health as reliance on pesticides and industrial agricultural chemicals is reduced. Project Circular-based waste management


Regional Cooperation Magazine

Working on radicalisation prevention as a European network The field of radicalisation prevention is laden with difficulties and uncertainties for the professionals involved. There is no absolute path to radicalisation, as individuals are as complex as they are unique. Any approach should be holistic and adapt to particular paths or vulnerabilities. The differences in prison and probation contexts, and the multitude of professional roles involved in the process, make it hard to follow and to evaluate results as far as P/CVE efforts are concerned.

practitioners and researchers to reflect, and discuss country-specific peculiarities, programmes, best practices and strategies. With 70 participants from 12 European countries, the first Transnational Thematic Workshop explored and debated the practitioner’s role in P/CVE and radicalisation in the Balkan region. The event titled “Preventing radicalisation and violent extremism in the Balkans – The role of criminal justice settings” took place, online, on November 19th, 2021.

Despite the available tools, risk management and assessment of the effectiveness of one practice over others are difficulties faced every day, not only throughout the described range of different professionals but across borders, with very distinct approaches. The training and resources available to these key personnel are unequivocally linked to the success of radicalisation prevention initiatives. This need is in the origin of the European Learning Hub on Radicalisation. Within the scope of project HOPE (Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative), focused on the Balkans, it’s a growing network that supports continuous training, sharing of information and experience on the topic of P/ CVE.

Making the most out of the network: the project’s thematic transnational workshops HOPE’s network is engaged and activities have begun in full steam with two of the planned eight Transnational Thematic Workshops that gather

First Transnational Thematic Workshop

The event opened with a presentation by renowned expert Dorin Muresan from the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA). His contribution was about “Regional solutions for regional challenges – A historical perspective on preventing radicalisation and extremism in the Balkans”. !23

Regional Cooperation Magazine This presentation provided a comprehensive historical perspective on P/CVE in the region and shared interesting practical examples of initiatives implemented in this area. Moreover, researcher Josep García Coll, from the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (FUNDEA), presented “An overview of P/CVE in Southeastern Europe: Approaches, challenges and practitioners’ impressions” and provided a relevant analysis of facts and figures regarding P/CVE in the South-eastern Europe region. In addition, the event comprised a sub-workshop called “A hands-on approach to P/CVE” which actively engaged participants and promoted pertinent and thought-provoking debates on the implementation of local/ regional P/CVE initiatives. It also explored the participants' professional roles and potential contributions to the field. For its second Transnational Thematic Workshop, the conversation focused on “A multi-agency approach to P/CVE in the Balkans, Southern and Eastern Europe: The penitentiary system's centrality and needs”. This activity was held on the 9th of December 2021, in the scope of EEA and Norway Grants Regional Funds Week and had 49 participants from 18 countries.

After the welcome and event overview by moderator Ljiljana Palibrk from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Vlado Azinović from the University of Exeter and the University of Sarajevo had a presentation focused on understanding the phenomenon of returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and its impacts on the criminal justice systems of Western Balkan countries. The second speaker, Donche Boshkovski from the Council of Europe, explored the results of the Council of Europe's work regarding P/CVE in the Western Balkans and spoke on the current gaps and needs regarding P/CVE in the region, and necessary next steps. Important entities such as the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) took part in the event, which denotes the significant reach and importance that the HOPE project is achieving as it unfolds. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, in cooperation with IPS_Innovative Prison Systems and Agenfor International, was responsible for organising the workshop.

Bringing HOPE under the spotlight To spread its message to a broader audience, the HOPE video is now available. This video aims to briefly explain the concerns that underlie the project, the objectives of the initiative, and the actions that the project partnership is taking to contribute to radicalisation prevention in a holistic perspective.


Regional Cooperation Magazine

A project with a focus on inclusivity HOPE’s final goal is a society where all its members feel part of a diverse whole and do not feel the need to turn to radical views or violent behaviours. In this framework, the project contributed to an inclusiveness and cooperation round table on the first day of “Regional Funds Week”, alongside six other impactful projects.

Project HOPE's video

The HOPE project’s presence within “Regional Funds Week” was yet another opportunity to increase visibility and strengthen our network. In this event’s Virtual Hall, which emulated a real-life conference, visitors could enter the space for the Regional Cooperation Fund and stop by HOPE’s digital booth. The visitors were able to get an overview of the project from the presentation video, learn more about it in the image gallery or through its downloadable documentation, as well as book an appointment to talk directly with a project representative.

Represented by IPS’s CEO Pedro das Neves, together with Ljiljana Palibr, Project Manager of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, HOPE’s intervention had an important contribution to the role of international cooperation to craft holistic and systemic solutions. This concept is at the core of the project design and is its mission to unite partners across its geographical scope in a united learning hub.

"Inclusiveness and cooperation roundtable” at RFW

Virtual stand at Regional Funds Week online event !25

Regional Cooperation Magazine The advantage of inter-project cooperation to accomplish gradual systemic changes was highlighted by the moderator Katarzyna Zabratańska, Manager for Equality and Inclusive Culture at Żabka Polska. Her conclusion let an important reminder that the efficient and respectful path for inclusiveness and equality means working “with” instead of “for” the communities.

What’s next for HOPE? Two new online Transnational Thematic Workshops are set for the beginning of 2022, to continue engaging the network and building upon previous meetings. Four presential events will hopefully follow these and allow for an even stronger involvement between the participants. The report on P/CVE needs assessment for prison and probation in the partner countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania) will be published in the first quarter of 2022. This data will provide an even stronger foundation to build a useful and relevant knowledge-sharing network. The HOPE Initiative is led by IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal) in partnership with the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service (Norway), Agenfor International Foundation (Italy), the Euro-Arab Foundation for Advanced Studies (Spain), the Bulgarian Association for Policy Evaluation, the Bulgarian General Directorate “Execution of Sentences”, the Bucharest-Jilava Penitentiary (Romania), the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (Serbia) and the Slovenian Probation Administration (Ministry of Justice). For more information about the HOPE project, please visit its website. Project HOPE – HOlistic radicalisation Prevention initiativE


Regional Cooperation Magazine

Contributors & Credits From the Fund Operators Małgorzata Nowak Mateusz Wiśniewski 
 Francesca Bombarda 
 Sara Barbi External Contributors Thomas Mc Grath From the Projects Inga Retike Bálint Farkas Špela Kodre Diamanto Giannara Erika Zuodar Kata Pátka-Szitter Silvia Bernardo Maritsa Kissamitaki

Director Gian Luca Bombarda

Cover Image: Twitter @vonderleyen

The contents of the Magazine are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Donors.


Regional Cooperation Magazine

born with the intention of sharing the results and updates of the projects participating to the Fund to showcase the main achievements of implemented activities. Follow us:

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