Tasos Sidiropoulos, Transition Development Director of ANKO PP5, Western Macedonia, Greece,  has been the regional project manager for the BRIDGES project since the very beginning. According to Tasos, and his long term experience with the BRIDGES project implementation,  the overall feeling from the project is mixed: on the one hand the outputs and learning that have been jointly developed over time have been very positive, on the other hand the different pace, the varying degrees of alignment of the regional Structural Funds during Phases 1 and 2, have relatively hindered BRIDGES from maximising its overall effect. One such example was the difficulty of integrating good practices into the regional structural funds. This challenge has been shared among all projects that dealt with good practice transfer and policy impact. Tasos feels that, in the future, the potential to integrate -and therefore improve or concretise- the Regional Operational Programmes (ROP:s) should be anticipated as a precondition for the ROPs anyway.

According to Tasos, the additional activities of the BRIDGES project, have been a better experience with valuable results. ANKO, from its institutional mandate as a regional development intermediary, connected and interacted with the Managing Authority on the one hand and the dairy industry stakeholders very intensely from the very beginning. Phases 1 and 2 of the project had contributed constructing a stronger collaboration base for this purpose.  The value chain mapping provided evidence on the regional potential for diversification into innovative domains. It revealed, as well, the competitiveness improvement needs of the traditional dairy industry. Above all, identification of interregional complementarities and thereof collaborative programmes rather than fragmented know- how and / or technology transfer, and attraction of investments, have been high points of the achievements in the region. Western Macedonia, with its strong interest in programme-based collaboration and commitment in the post-lignite era of its regional economy (e.g. approved IPCEI Green-Hippo project, on hydrogen cells & international investments), is highly valuing integrated approaches.

Access to Western Macedonia's value chain mapping is available here: https://projects2014-2020.interregeurope.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/tx_tevprojects/library/file_1662459763.pdf , https://projects20142020.interregeurope.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/tx_tevprojects/library/file_1662460158.pdfhttps://projects20142020.interregeurope.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/tx_tevprojects/library/file_1662460158.pdf .   

Access to the policy instrument improvement recommendations report is available here: https://projects2014-2020.interregeurope.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/tx_tevprojects/library/file_1660729456.pdf .