3 mins

Interreg Europe communication during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way the Interreg Europe programme communicates. Physical events and face-to-face networking were no longer possible. The shift to the online world led to many adaptations for both our programme and our projects.

Below is a timeline with some of Interreg Europe's adaptations to this exceptional context.

March 2020: We started working from home and advised our projects how to move their meetings online.

May 2020: The first final conference (Cult-RInG project) took place online.

June 2020: The special online edition of the'Europe, let's cooperate'event focused on the role ofinterregional cooperation in the COVID-19 recovery.

July 2020: The SCALE UP project proposed a methodology for online study visits.

November 2020: We engaged our community with 30 stories of cooperationand promoted project results despite COVID-19.

April 2021: We opened a new call for additional project activities that are linked to the COVID-19 recovery.

Four communication actions helped Interreg Europe to tackle the challenges emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.

Moving activities online: Interreg Europe projects depend highly on face-to-face meetings, so it was quite a challenge to move their activities online. Thanks to the programme's guidance and their own creativity, the projects adapted their exchange of experience methodologies for peer reviews, study visits and thematic meetings to online formats. Our Policy Learning Platform also moved thematic seminars, policy discussions, matchmaking meetings and peer reviews online.

Promoting COVID-19 solutions: The COVID-19 pandemic affected many policy areas that are covered by the work of Interreg Europe projects. We asked the projects to tag their good practices and policy solutions that were relevant to the COVID-19 recovery or submit new ones to our good practice database.

To share this information with all interested policymakers, we created a special COVID-19 page as a repository of the relevant good practices, news and events.

Offering flexibility: As a result of the pandemic, our projects'activities stalled for a while. To keep their implementation on track, the Interreg Europe Monitoring Committee approved measures for additional activities and flexibility. For example, our projects could purchase equipment for online meetings, produce videos for their online study visits or request pilot actions more quickly than before, especially if they were relevant to the COVID-19 crisis.

Connecting with the community: Interreg Europe's community of project partners and stakeholderscould notmeet face to face for over a year. We did our best to keep the partnerships alive on social media, for example through an active Facebook group for projects and by posting engaging visuals on Instagram. When hosting online events, we have been live-tweeting on Twitter to interact with our followers.

After a year of adaptation, we are happy to say that these four actions helped us keep the interregional cooperation going when it was needed more than ever.

A 'new normal' for communication?

The pandemic forced us to rethink our communication methods and draw lessons for the future.

Online activities had been a standard part of Interreg Europe's communication methods mix well before the pandemic. For a year now, we have been testing new tools andformats to make our online events even more accessible and engaging. High participation and satisfaction rates confirm that we are going in the right direction.

We were also happy to find out that many projects' online solutions turned out to be largely as effective as their traditional face-to-face meetings. So, online activities might find their place among future projects' exchange of experience methodologies.

However, people do miss the face-to-face side of cooperation.The 'new normal' for communication is likely to take a hybrid form, combining face-to-face meetings with online activities for remote participants.

Petra Polaskova is Coordinator of Communication and Contact Points at the Interreg Europe secretariat

This article appears in Rural areas: an eye to the future

Go to Page View
This article appears in...
Rural areas: an eye to the future
Go to Page View
Wiktor Szydarowski, ESPON EGTC
The way into the future
The semester of the Portuguese Presidency of the
Now is the time for territorial, smart and ambitious investments!
Elisa Ferreira Europe's response to the crisis is
Thematic dossier
A Long Term Vision for Rural Areas to turn changes into opportunities
A new pathway is emerging for the prosperous future of rural areas
Fatima Bacharel Andreea China Rural areas:
The EU cohesion policy needs a universal basic income
Nowadays, the environment is a priority in the
Rural areas are entitled to the EU's cohesion and crisis response
Rural areas not only represent the smallest building
The future of Europe will depend on how we deal with rural areas
Peter Schmidt Stefano Palmieri The EU enjoys incredible
CAP reform and a Green Deal: an unmissable opportunity to promote agroecological practices
Guillaume Cros The Occitanie region is
How to harness the potential of rural areas to m ake them suitable places for innovation opportunities?
' Eugenio Giani In her speech during
Which future do you want for rural areas?
Marion Eckardt Last year, the European LEADER
Taking action to spur growth in French rural areas: the rural agenda
Marie-Lorraine Dangeard The Territorial Agenda 2030 provides
Reinventing Scandinavian Mountains
Jan Edøy Erik Hagen Em pirical
Landscape transformation programme: An institutional innovation model
Miguel Freitas The new European forest strategy
Rural networking to build a Long Term Vision for Rural Areas
Enrique Nieto In early 2020, the President of
The pandemic may help us re-discover places that were left behind
João Ferrão is a research professor at the
Cit izens and territories should feel the im pact of NextGenerationEU funds
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, Local
The macroregional strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region: a common vision, a shared mission
Mathilde Konstantopoulou Following the end of the
Why we need new evidence to better address the social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic
Nicolas Rossignol ESPON' s first attempt to
Older people’s interests in policymaking: a lesson from COVID-19?
Piera Petruzzi Member State governments have begun to
Development challenges for lake areas in the EU
Károly Fekete Éva Geletáné Varga
Leaping from a primary to a quaternary sector in a rural EU border area
Sandra Spule What are employment options for
Measuring the climate impact of spatial planning
Pauline Riordan Because of its broad reach,
Functional areas as emerging geographies: how to define and measure them
' Zintis Hermansons The understanding of different functional
Eco-clust er s as governance tools
Jacopo Riccardi Thijs Fikken Europe's urban-maritime
European Year of Rail 2021. Connecting places and people
Valeria Fedeli The year 2021 is the
Measuring digitalisation in regions and cities, matching the targets of the 2030 Digital Com pass
Anke Schuster Marek Bobiš The COVID-19 pandemic has
Driving and scaling-up innovation in cross-border digital healthcare from the demand side
Martin Gauk Angela Emidio The ESPON
Communicating Cohesion Policy on Planet Pandemia One year on
Image: Claudio Nichele Agnès Monfret Claudio Nichele Like
Communication in time of pandemics - INTERACT experience
Kevin Fulcher When COVID-19 arrived in Europe,
Interreg Europe communication during the COVID-19 pandemic
Petra Polaskova The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically
How to hold an international event when everybody is stuck in their homes?
Jenny Koutsomarkou Imagine the impact of the pandemic
Upcoming ESPON events Transnational Outreach
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, all events will
Territorial resilience: meaning and main implications for spatial planning
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across regions
Setting up the ESPON 2030 Program m e: heading towards the finish line
The last few months have been particularly intensive
Policy Brief on rural areas: More than just a publication
Fatima Bacharel Andreea China Since the
Outlook of the Slovenian presidency
Blanka Bartol TomaẐ Miklav Ḉ iḈ In
Looking for back issues?
Browse the Archive >

Previous Article Next Article
Rural areas: an eye to the future
Page 69