Annual Implementation Report 2020 approved

 

The Programme's Annual Implementation Report (AIR) for the year 2020 has been approved by the European Commission. The Report and Citizen's Summary can be found here.

 

Programme implementation

In 2020 a mini call for proposals of the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 directed to ongoing projects (extension of the project under implementation) was held between 2 November and 16 December 2020. Within the mini call, the Programme wanted to provide support for projects to extend their scope and to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemia. During the mini call, 22 project proposals were submitted, requesting 1.99 MEUR of co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The selection of the 1st Mini call projects by the Monitoring Committee of the Programme was planned on 24 February 2021.

 

Table 1.  Value of co-financing (EUR ERDF) requested vs. offered and no. of submitted applications within the Mini Call for proposals

 

Specific objective

ERDF requested (EUR)

ERDF available (EUR)*

Number of Applications

1.1 - SMEs internationalisation

125 545,00 EUR

137 921,28 EUR

1

1.2 - SMEs Innovativeness

94 397,50 EUR

94 514,18 EUR

1

2.1 – Sustainable tourism

491 850,65 EUR

335 317,33 EUR

4

2.2 - Green technologies

734 152,83 EUR

246 869,93 EUR

8

3.1 - Sustainable transport

244 263,45 EUR

124 869,71 EUR

3

4.1 - Skills development

263 356,72 EUR

161 887,00 EUR

4

5.1 - Cooperation capacity

35 394,00 EUR

43 236,11 EUR

1

Total

1 988 960,15 EUR

1 144 615,54 EUR

22

*Based on data available on 2020-10-12. The final amount offered will equal the actual savings available at the time of the Monitoring Committee decision on the submitted applications. 

From its start date in September 2015 till the end of 2020 the Interreg South Baltic Programme performed 6 calls for proposals for regular projects, two seed money calls1. Altogether there were 121 full-size applications submitted by interested parties in the regular calls requesting over 141 MEUR ERDF and 32 seed money concepts requesting nearly 1 MEUR ERDF. In total by the end of 2020, 64 regular projects as well as 26 Seed Money projects were selected for co-financing by the Monitoring Committee and the amount of 77.4 MEUR ERDF was allocated to projects. Together with Technical Assistance projects, the Programme contracted 92 projects with a total value of 82,4 MEUR ERDF (approx. 99.3% of Programme ERDF allocation).

[1] Seed money facility is a financial instrument that allows financing of the regular project preparation.


Chart 1. Value in EUR of projects selected for co-financing, divided into individual specific objectives [excl. Technical Assistance]

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Programme information, promotion and cooperation activities

The Interreg South Baltic Programme in 2020 focused on capitalisation of projects’ results, its further dissemination and promotion. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity to change the nature of planned activities, the Programme continued supporting cooperation among projects and other programmes. 

In April 2020, a facilitation package was implemented in the South Baltic Programme to support projects affected by the pandemic. Its basic objective was to maintain a flexible approach to possible changes, mainly to enable remote reporting.

Some of the projects’ partners diversified their activities towards counteracting the effects of the pandemic. For example within the project CoBiUM – Cargo bikes in urban mobility project, under which city cargo bikes have been made available to local entrepreneurs from Gdynia, Poland, to facilitate the delivery of meals to hospitals and emergency services. The story behind this initiative was seen and described on the DG Regio website.

The Programme supported also sustainable tourism sector and target groups through implementation of different actions planned in the projects Baltic Museums LOVEIT! which created e-guided tours using common gamification service and provided an enhanced visitor experience thanks to gamification and multimedia content accessed via the visitors' own mobile devices. The products became very useful in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic when visitors must keep interpersonal distance and human guides are often no longer available. Other great example is Biking South Baltic – the project implemented pilots (cycle tourism infrastructure) in 2 locations on the Baltic Sea Cycle Route (EuroVelo10) in Poland. Moreover, the project developed bookable offers for cycling tourist available here .

 

Programme events

Throughout most of 2020, meetings had a form of online meetings and webinars. The Interreg South Baltic Programme organised several online promotional events, which include:

  • Europe Day – an article on the Programme’s website and a video about the origin of the EU and 70 years of the Schuman declaration,
  • European Maritime Day – an article on the Programme’s website presenting five projects impacting the future of the Baltic Sea,
  • 20 projects for 2020 – a series of posts on Facebook and LinkedIn for the end of the 2014-2020 programming period,
  • Regio Stars competition – with the participation of the SB YCGN project – South Baltic Youth Core Groups Network,
  • Projects’ exhibition on the 30 years of Interreg and European Cooperation Day organised in cooperation with Interact and other programmes with Denmark in their programming area. The exhibition was located in the Museum of Bornholm in Rønne and, despite the difficult time during the lockdown, 1134 visitors saw the exhibition.
  • A series of 7 videos "Let's talk about Interreg" with testimonials from projects’ representatives, regional authorities and local activists, a token of appreciation for Interreg funds and celebration of Interreg’s 30th anniversary. The videos were published on social media channels, as well as on the Programme's website in the form of interviews.
  • During the webinar "Programme Communication vs COVID-19", organised by the Interact programme, the Communication Officer presented solutions used by Joint Secretariat during the pandemic.

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Picture 1. (left) Screenshot from Projects’ exhibition on the 30 years of Interreg and European Cooperation Day;

Picture 2. (right) Example from video testimonials series of projects’ called "Let's talk about Interreg”;

Programme Annual Event 2020

The Annual Event of the Programme was organised virtually via the ZOOM platform. The event took place in September and was part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Interreg and the European Cooperation Day. The Annual Event 2020 consisted of two discussion panels, a quiz dedicated to Interreg and a question-and-answer session. Representatives of five projects were invited to the first panel to discuss the positive impact of European funds on small regions and institutions located there, as well as the opportunities they create. The second panel was dedicated to the future of the South Baltic Programme. Local authorities discussed the upcoming programming period and regional cooperation. Over 170 participants from Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden – project partners, beneficiaries, representatives of local and regional authorities, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGO) and members of the European Commission joint the virtual Annual Event 2020.

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Picture 3. and 4. Screenshots from Interreg South Baltic Programme Virtual Annual Event 2020

Social Media

During the entire year 2020, the Joint Secretariat of the South Baltic Programme offered a consistent flow of information through Programme website and social media channels. Three channels on social media have been maintained: Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. The Twitter account is currently suspended due to low traffic. An additional tool of communication targeted towards projects is a closed group on Facebook called “Interreg South Baltic Communication & Capitalisation Lab”. The group aims to encourage projects to share their knowledge and experience, to connect and create new, to find answers to questions and issues related to projects, and to publish information about projects' events (workshops, conferences, study visits, networking meetings).