The pandemic has drastically downsized physical events in 2020. However, true cooperation can overcome any obstacle. And the ENI CBC programmes have fully demonstrated the strengths of cooperation celebrating the European Cooperation Day 2020 in a great variety of ways. Discover how creative they have been!
This year the ENI CBC community has organised dozens of EC Day events: whenever the physical ones were not possible due to safety rules on COVID-19, the programmes relocated the celebration to the online format. Moreover, some events mixed both physical and digital components. Let’s have a look at some of them!
A virtual bridge over Lake Peipsi united the citizens of Estonia and Russia on 18 September. Estonia-Russia has organised two mirror events in the joint transboundary area of Lake Peipsi (“Common Peipsi 2” project): in Räpina harbour (Estonia) the participants could play the “Game of Estonia on the border of Europe”, join the boat trip around Lake Peipsi and listen to the local orchestra. On the other side of Lake Peipsi (and the border), thecelebrations took place in the park on the shores of Mirozhka river, reconstructed within the project “Bio Aware”. A quest, a quiz, live music and the installation of a symbolic art-object created the festive atmosphere in Pskov (Russia). Even though the border-crossing remains limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, the neighbours managed to exchange their greetings via a video-bridge Räpina-Pskov. The best moments of the celebration are visible in the programme’s video:
Mirror events on both sides of a border are an inspiring idea to feel united in the celebration of the EC Day while the borders are still closed. The traditional cross-border bike tour organised by Poland-Russia this year ran in parallel in the two countries and included a virtual “innovation”. From 18 to 27 September, each of the 80 registered participants had to cover individually at least 10 km in one day around the programme area (the distances properly tracked), taking selfies that promote cross-border cooperation and the programme. Altogether, the participants have covered over 3 300 kilometres on the Polish and on the Russian sides of the border, the best distance – of 125 km – belonging to a Russian cyclist.
Reducing interaction among the participants while organising an EC Day event seemed a real challenge for Karelia, but the programme managed to get a way out and invited citizens for a project hunt on the programme territory in Finland and in the Republic of Karelia (Russia). Finding projects oriented by clues of project sites, taking photos at the locations and publishing them on social media were the tasks up to real project-hunters. How did it go? Read the story of Nuutti, a trainee at the Karelia CBC Programme, who covered 510 km in one day to find 10 different locations…
Safety is definitely the key word for the moment, and Romania-Ukraine strictly followed the safety restrictions for its EC Day events: between 21 September and 20 October the programme invited border citizens to a “safe” trip through Tulcea, Botosani, Suceava, Baia Mare or Satu Mare by public transport, distributing free protective masks to the passengers. Citizens could also join the programme’s online visibility campaign aimed at promoting cross-border collaboration and partnerships, as well as participate in various activities organised by project beneficiaries both in Romania and Ukraine.
Safety restrictions have cancelled mass celebrations, however, even a small event can leave memorable imprints. On 19 September Poland-Belarus-Ukraine organised a tree-planting in the Skolivski Beskydy National Park in Ukraine. The symbolic event of planting 30 trees made a small contribution to preserving the ecology of the Carpathians and marked the celebration of #Interreg30 anniversary and the achievements of cooperation between the three countries. Tree-planting was followed by the traditional Boyko treatment, music and singing. These nice moments have been gathered in a short video:
Latvia-Russia has found a perfect remedy to the distresses of 2020 and spelled it out into the EC Day celebration. On 5 September “Hiking as an antidepressant” discussion in the frame of the Latvian Conversation Festival LAMPA presented several amazing cross-border hiking roads developed or under construction in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. And right after the conversation, the participants had a chance to enjoy an inspirational 16-km long LAMPA Interreg Hike. The day after, the bravest ones have challenged themselves with a 30 km long hike to celebrate Interreg 30 anniversary.
If the physical EC Day celebrations have been conducted this year with a number of restrictions, online EC Day celebrations have offered to the ENI CBC community almost unlimited opportunities for participation. On 24 and 25 September South-East Finland – Russia gathered around 80 project representatives and programme stakeholders for online coffee-hours #ecday2020 to review the changes and challenges imposed by the pandemic to their common working environment.
And in the case of Hungary – Slovakia – Romania – Ukraine, project beneficiaries were invited to take part in a photo contest (from 24 September to 5 October) to highlight the cross-border challenges addressed by their projects by depicting the sights from the programme area, showcasing to the citizens the benefits of cross-border cooperation.
Highlights of project achievements, testimonials from cross-border citizens, photo and movie contests, quizzes and social media campaigns – a myriad of online EC Day activities in the ENI CBC community show that even if traditional presential events are not possible, we can yet stay united to celebrate cooperation across borders! Find more EC Day events at www.ecday.eu