On 4-5th February we actively participated in the 13th Europe-Ukraine Forum – one of the crucial international events devoted to the Ukrainian relations with the European Union. The Forum is organized since 2007 in Poland and visited by thousands of guests from many countries. The Programme organized the discussion panel titled "The role of the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine in the development of Central and Eastern Europe". It was moderated by Andrzej Słodki, Head of the Joint Technical Secretariat.
The discussion panel started with a presentation on the state of play of the Programme. Within current 3rd PBU edition (2014-2020), the Programme support is again provided to the economic and social development on the border of three involved countries thanks to grants i.a. for infrastructure, health care, rescue services, tourism, cultural and natural heritage. – The Programme is a very significant and important tool to develop relations between the European Union and Ukraine in the regional dimension by supporting various projects. It is the largest cross-border programme at the European Union's land borders – emphasized Andrzej Słodki.
The second part of the meeting was focused on the future of the Programme. How can the border between Poland and Ukraine and Belarus not become an "iron curtain" but a source of "wealth in diversity", a place of intensive economic and interpersonal exchange? What challenges does the Programme face in the context of global climate and environmental threats? These were the main questions which the panellists tried to answer. – I would focus on projects which are not from big cities - not from Lviv, not from Lublin. They have their own financing mechanisms, they have their money, they can renew souvenirs of a common culture. I would prioritize border communes, border districts and strictly the border – polemicized prof. Bohdan Hud from the University of Lviv. – It is important that we listen to what is the most needed in these small homelands, regions, euroregions and put it well in the Programme in the new perspective 2021-2027" – emphasized Leszek Buller, director of the Center of European Projects.
Olga Shvorak, Director of Volyn Regional Entrepreneurship Support Fund and coordinator of cross-border projects funded within all three editions of the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme as well as Tadeusz Grabowski, Deputy Director of the Roztoczański National Park were also panellists of this interesting discussion.
The Forum was accompanied by the 4th Eastern Fair. The participants of both events had the opportunity to visit the Programme promotional stand which offered a good portion of information about the PBU principles and projects, the 2020 Programme calendars and, as every year, a tasty coffee. It is estimated that this year’s edition attracted about 1000 guests and panellists from 31 countries.
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