Staying open to new approaches and not rest on our laurels.

This was the general tenor of the discussion at the local stakeholder meeting of the INTERREG Europe project KISS ME („Knowledge and Innovation Strategies involving small and medium-sized enterprises in the context of INTERREG”).  

On 15 February 2018, the Euregio Rhine-Waal invited its local stakeholders to an informal fireside chat at the old monastery Graefenthal in Goch-Asperden, to discuss the project’s progress and interim results, as well as the future of INTERREG.   

The group of participants comprised representatives of the Ministries for Economic Affairs of the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia, representatives of the Dutch Provinces Gelderland and Friesland, the Joint INTERREG Secretariat, the Regional Programme Management, the Rhein-Waal University of Applied Science, as well as representatives of development and transfer agencies from Münster, Duisburg and Apeldoorn.   

The fireside chat opened with a presentation of interesting interim insights of the project. Following, the stakeholders discussed possible new ideas and approaches for the future of the INTERREG programme at the Dutch-German border.    

The INTERREG Germany-Netherland programme, which is one of the oldest INTERREG programmes, has achieved remarkable successes and developments since its establishment more than 25 years ago. However, proven tools and methods have to be critically evaluated continuously and it is important to always go one step further. To be open to new approaches does not necessarily mean that old ones have to be given up. Sometimes, though, it means that one has to dare to actually try these new approaches.   

One aspect, which the stakeholders identified as a possible new approach, is the stronger focus on social innovation within the INTERREG programme. What other new ways to go within the INTERREG A Germany-Netherlands programme could look like will have to be elaborated further within the near future.