When it all started back in October 2015, it was not self-evident that TESIM could become a distinct project with its own personality, building on its predecessors but without being limited to a mere repetition of them. 2022 may be our last year of implementation, but it’s way too early to start thinking about that. We still have to get there, once we have navigated a year which will see our community reaching significant milestones and with TESIM accompanying all processes with a dedicated workplan.
Let’s be frank right from the start! The core of TESIM’s work plan for 2022 will bring no substantial change to what you are used to. But this is not necessarily bad news, is it? Our services this year have received quite positive feedback, be it our networking events, our written guidance or, most important, our tailor-made advisory services provided individually to each of you. Moreover, never before had so many efforts been deployed to increasing the visibility of the achievements that are constantly being reached throughout our cooperation area; these efforts have also received high appreciation. So, what can we anticipate in terms of novelties?
Even if not fully a novelty – we have all gone through this already – it is important to devote attention next year to all levels of the process leading to a successful closure of ENI CBC programmes and projects. At programme level, TESIM will support the European Commission in the development of the Guide for closure, building on what is available for internal cooperation programmes and, most important, on the lessons learnt about the closure of ENPI CBC. Upon availability of the Guide, an ad-hoc event will be organised and your views and inputs will be most useful in order to improve the closure templates and the closure process. At project level instead, TESIM will resume the production of video tutorials, for a total of eight in four different languages. These tutorials will be complemented with the necessary guidance as well, and the whole package will be placed and promoted using our goforenicbc platform.
For what concerns the adoption of Interreg NEXT programmes, it goes without saying that the first quarter of 2022 will require all efforts to be put in the finetuning of the cooperation programmes which will end up being submitted to DG REGIO. Progress has been steady all along 2021, with a sound acceleration in the last months of the year. Still, many details, in particular for what concerns the decisions on implementing arrangements, are yet to be discussed. A final look back at the full programming process to ensure the transversal coherence of all decisions taken will be necessary too. TESIM will renew its commitment support-wise to this process. The final stages of programming will be accompanied with an equally paramount exercise, which is the development of the financing agreements with CBC Partner Countries and the awareness-raising on their contents. As far as the later aspect is concerned, once the draft financing agreements will be available, TESIM intends to contribute with the organisation of bilateral info-sessions with all National Authorities. This should facilitate the process of signature and the actual launch of Interreg NEXT in all eligible territories. Ahead of our own closure, it would be an immense pleasure for TESIM to support the first calls for proposals in as many programmes as possible already next year. And this support will not only be about events; TESIM will render available the most accurate thematic overview of ENI CBC, linking territories and topics, so that this information can be used to build on strengths and fill in gaps where necessary in the run up to the approval of the NEXT projects. In this overall context, we will certainly put a strong emphasis in supporting all types of implementation synergies, not only among NEXT programmes but also between them and the rest of the Interreg family, so that the good results in this field during the programming stage do not stop.
As you can imagine, an increased number of closed projects, with their many achievements, and the launching of a new generation of programmes, with the first funding opportunities becoming a reality, will translate into a combination extremely rich of news and stories to tell on neighbourhood cross-border cooperation. That’s why TESIM’s communication machine will work at full steam next year! Not only the on-going tools will ensure real-time or close-to-real-time information, but we will allocate additional efforts to putting a face and giving a voice to cooperation stories, resuming – among other instruments – the production of videos. TESIM will certainly communicate during 2022 using the European Year of Youth as a thread, and a Dialogue with Youth from a neighbourhood perspective is one of the ideas that we are investigating to enrich the programme of our annual conference in May 2022, the perfect moment not only to transition from ENI CBC to NEXT, but also from spring to summer, when TESIM may need to start thinking about packaging the intellectual and emotionally rich luggage that it has piled up since October 2015.
But, as the title of this article goes, it’s way too early to start waving goodbye!