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Sharing solutions for COVID-19 recovery

Erwin Siweris

Creating an environment and opportunities for sharing solutions and policy learning is at the heart of Interreg Europe. As an interregional cooperation programme, Interreg Europe helps regions work together, exchange experiences and find solutions to their challenges. The COVID-19 crisis has brought about new challenges to address. Instead of starting from scratch, regions from all over Europe can speed up the process of finding solutions and getting back on the road to recovery by leveraging the experience and collective know-how of a pan-European community of policy-makers and regional development practitioners.

Making use of good practices

The Interreg Europe good practice database brings together hundreds of tested and proven solutions from different regions. Those with particular relevance in the current context have been tagged with the keyword ‘COVID-19’. Get a taste of the available solutions with the following two examples.

COVID-19 pack age for start-ups

Start-ups in Austria can make use of the COVID-19 package to overcome the effects of the COVID-19pandemic. Launched by the government and run by Austria Wirtschaftsservice (the Austrian promotional bank), the start-up fund offers loans of EUR 10,000?800,000, with a simple application process.

Thanks to the simple administration process, companies receive a response within 3 days of sending their application. The loans are interest free and they have to be repaid only when the beneficiary starts to generate profits. Overall, EUR 40 million of equity has already been granted to more than 200 start-ups through the scheme.

Volunteering and the circular economy during the COVID-19 pandemic

The municipality of Empoli in Italy made use of the circular economy and volunteering to mitigate isolation and growing social inequalities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Particularly during lockdown, new measures were needed to reach and support vulnerable people, mainly the elderly, disabled, quarantined or clinically susceptible to the virus. The municipality launched a public call to volunteering and charity associations to set up a food chain together with local farmers, food industry, and groceries.

The local mobilisation enabled regular home delivery service of fresh goods and medicine, food package deliveries, and the establishment of food donor points in local groceries, as well as the implementation of a food cheque distribution system. The associations have also seen an increase in the number of volunteers involved, reinforcing the sense of mutual solidarity and cooperation in local communities.

“Start-ups in Austria can make use of the COVID-19 package to overcome the effects of the pandemic”

Browse the Interreg Europe good practice database for more solutions. In addition to being inspired by good practices from other regions, you can also submit and share your ideas.

Getting support from experts and peers

For local challenges that call for more tailored solutions, Interreg Europe can also deliver personalised advice and expert support through the Policy Learning Platform. If your challenge is related to research and innovation, SME competitiveness, the low-carbon economy, or environment and resource efficiency, the vast selection of good practices and solutions gathered by Interreg Europe can help you move forward.

Use the online help-desk to get a quick response to your question, or submit your challenge for a peer review and let the experts bring you together with peers from other regions who can help you find solutions.

This article appears in the A regional geography of COVID-19 Issue of TerritoriALL

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This article appears in the A regional geography of COVID-19 Issue of TerritoriALL