The Interreg Europe programme focusses on the improvement of policy instruments across Europe. It builds on the values of learning from peers and the exchange of experience between parties facing similar or the same challenges in their respective regions. Not only does the programme reinforce the fact that despite specific regional characteristics, challenges faced are at times quite similar, but it also promotes the mentality of not ‘re-inventing the wheel’ and instead capitalizing on the experience which has been accrued by others. Through the exchange of experience process, project partners of Interreg Europe projects will learn about Good Practices from other regions on how certain challenges have been overcome. These Good Practices form the basis of the Regional Action Plans, which contain the specific recommendations on how to improve the policy instrument which is being addressed. In order to fully support the process of not only the exchange of experience and the ensuing development of policy recommendations – known as Phase 1, the programme also foresees time within the projects dedicated to the monitoring of the implementation of those policy recommendations – known as Phase 2.

The HELIUM project had its Kick-Off in early 2016 and its first two years have been dedicated to the exchange of experience. These two years have been intensive, not only in framework of the Interregional Seminars and the Staff Exchanges, but also in the interaction between project partners and stakeholders at the local level to ensure that the Good Practices which have been identified as interesting or valuable match the needs of the stakeholders in the region. As a result of these first two years, five Regional Action Plans have been developed which contain the policy recommendations. These Regional Action Plans will be published on the HELIUM website in order to allow all those interested to dive deeper into our policy recommendations.

As of October 2018, the project has moved into its 2nd Phase, i.e. the monitoring phase. It will be the task of the HELIUM project partners to follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations and monitor the effects the recommendations have. For more information on the impact of our Regional Action Plans please keep an eye out for the HELIUM website as updates will be posted there!