CULTURE OPEN – Speaking the unique language of culture

“Culture is probably the best way to integrate migrants and people with disabilities in our cities. There is no need to speak. People usually dance and sing about the same things. Culture is the best way to reach someone’s heart and build trust”. Migrants and people with disabilities are two quite different types of groups. They have different needs and concerns. However, they often face the same challenges: the feeling of isolation, feeling unheard or not integrated in society. Culture Open is a project, financed under ENI CBC Karelia programme, that aims at engaging socially vulnerable groups in the cities of Petrozavodsk (RU) and Joensuu (FI) by making them feel the protagonists in the cultural life of the cities.

Flippers and diving masks to enjoy the underwater museum of the Black Sea

Vessels, buildings, statues, artefacts, sites, even human remains: this is all “underwater cultural heritage”, defined by UNESCO as human traces with cultural, historical or archaeological character, that have been under water for at least 100 years. Definitely, a heritage worth preserving and object of interest for the most curious minds. The ENI CBC TREASURE project has put the underwater remains of the Black Sea Basin at the centre of its efforts. The initiative – financed under the ENI CBC Black Sea Basin programme – focuses on fascinating sub-aquatic archaeological rests, and offers a unique experience as an alternative to traditional tourism.

TEC-MED: No elderly alone

In the Mediterranean, elderly people have been particularly hit by COVID-19. The media attention has been much riveted to them but mostly as a risk group on a medical level. Isolated and lonely more than ever due to social distancing and confinement, in this unprecedented period they eminently need adequate care, both social and psychological. Emotional support, social involvement, scientific research: tackling the pandemic, an EU-funded project TEC-MED develops solutions to find some relief for older people.

#COVID19: a shelter for women victims of violence

A safe-haven for women victims of violence: an emergency shelter where they (and their children) can immediately be hosted, even during the pandemic, to get away from homes where it is too dangerous for them to remain. It is happening in Tunisia, in the framework of the MedTOWN project financed by the EU within the ENI CBC MED programme. It is an example of a concrete response to the crisis unleashed across all borders by the COVID19 on the particularly fragile segment of abused women, and how a project was able to readjust its intervention to meet a new need arisen in the context of the pandemic.

The strength to heal wounds: empowerment

A small team of five experts has found the recipe to support vulnerable families in coping with life challenges: learn something, develop a project, put it in practice within the family, share with the community. In a word, create your own way to heal your own wounds, from beginning to end. This is empowerment.

ENI CBC young volunteers crossing all borders

“There is a need to show European citizens how many benefits the European projects have to offer and that they truly change lives” (Natalia Popielska, a young Interreg volunteer from Poland). Hundreds of young people like Natalia are leaving on this mission around Europe thanks to Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) initiative. IVY initiative offers young people a unique opportunity to participate as volunteers in EU funded cross-border, transnational or interregional programmes and projects, and to promote their concrete achievements through personal experience.

We watched a common sky above us despite a border on earth

They come from all over Europe: Poland, Germany, Cyprus and the Netherlands. They are 19, 22, 23, and 26 years old and grew up with Schengen. Olga writes, Sellina sticks her eye to the camera, Panos presents, Wijnand makes films. In September, these four “Euro trippers” found themselves around a great adventure. On board of a van, they travelled for a month through 17 EU countries and dozens of regions, meeting the locals and living like them. They went out to see what different regions have to offer: from dancing in an electric festival in Ireland to biking through Leipzig to getting lost in a rock labyrinth in Poland. In Romania, the four youngsters went to Maramures, near the Ukrainian border, to visit two ENPI CBC projects. We met the team during the EURegions Week in Brussels. What did they learn from this experience? How did they feel living together and jumping from one country to the other?

NOT FOR SALE: together against human trafficking

Human trafficking is the third biggest international crime industry of the planet. It involves mostly girls from poor, vulnerable environments, young people without any perspective, kidnapped and shuffled on the market. The EU external border regions are particularly challenged by this phenomenon, and the ENPI CBC “Nor for sale” project – implemented across Romania and the Republic of Moldova – has been tackling the issue.

Cross-border cooperation brings a positive change to the lives of youth living along the EU external borders

Youth were a cross-cutting issue on the agenda of the European Week of Regions and Cities which took place in Brussels on 8-11 October. “Young people have to play a role in the regions” underlined Pavel Telicka, Vice-President of the European Parliament, during the closing session. And this statement truly reflected the spirit of the workshop “Bringing together youth along the external borders of the European Union” organised by DG NEAR in cooperation with TESIM on 11 October. The invited young speakers showcased how cross-border cooperation helped them become actors of positive change in their regions.

A chance to forgive and to make up: youth mediation

Who hasn’t made a mistake in their life? Growing up is a journey often marked with tough decisions on education, hobbies, friends, social environment etc. It is easy to make a few wrong choices and get into some disputes along the way. Left unresolved, these choices and disputes can get out of control and have much harder consequences for the young people involved. What can be done to limit this potential damage?

Getting blind people out of their darkness

The Chernivtsi Regional Organisation of Ukrainian Association of Blind People has 1000 members, of which about 100 people have higher and specialised secondary education, and 15 people are students. Suceava County, Romania, is home to around 2000 blind people and in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, another 1100 blind people are living.

Building Up a Library for Families

The overall objective of the project was to improve family education as well as the information and cultural environment, and contribute to cross border social and economic development. One of the elements of the project was the renovation of the premises of two libraries – one in Marijampole (Lithuania) and one in Chernyakhovsk (Kaliningrad region, Russia). In both libraries functional spaces were created, such as a media library, a games corner, technology and meeting areas, and a photography club.

Museums across frontiers

In the course of implementing the project in the Museum of Archaeology and History in Elblag (Poland), the historic East Building on the castle grounds and the courtyard were renovated. The Russian museum „Friedland Gate” in Kaliningrad carried out the most urgent renovation works and commissioned an expert assessment of the adjacent stronghold, which will form the basis for further modernisation of the grounds and renovation of the historic buildings.

Even medical care has no borders

Proper equipment, trained personnel and fast response in case of emergency situations is the best way to ensure safety and security for the people in any region of Europe including on its external borders with Ukraine and Republic of Moldova.

ENI CBC in faces – Mégane Campanella

Our face of the month, Mégane, is 22. She studies socio cultural communication in Brussels. In November, together with other students, she took part in a project where she could travel to the EU’s external borders and visit cross-border projects. How did this experience change certain ideas she had? And how did she manage to cross her mental borders?