It is often said that expectations are the key to disappointment, but TESIM’s views are more aligned with the belief that high achievement takes place in the framework of high expectation. When the selection of the new Facility to support ENI CBC and Interreg NEXT programmes was announced, expectations – both internal and external – could be “cut with a knife”. But even if you stand as favourite when entering the track field, no win should be ever taken as granted. The risk of a false start or of stumbling against a hurdle in the last meter always exists.
In the end we crossed the line ahead of the rest! Only to discover that right after what you thought was just a sprint you are supposed to keep running and start a marathon lasting four years.
During these four years, we will first draw on the many lessons gathered individually and as a team since late 2015. Maintaining the proximity to the programmes, providing tailor-made approach and specific advise, using networking as the pillar for knowledge transfer, advocating for a shift from compliance to efficiency, promoting cooperation and coordination among programmes, reinforcing coherence between the Interreg NEXT programmes and the rest of the Interreg family as well as further fostering the work carried out to raise the visibility of the external Interreg dimension are only some of the building blocks that will be used in order to lay solid foundations for our future strategy.
Based on these learnings, we will put together a meaningful yet realistic range of potential services, maintaining the many valuable assets which have proved valuable in the past, adapting others to the new environment and adding services where gaps have been identified. In essence, the existing networks, be them thematic or geographic, will continue to run and, workload and resources allowing, our aim is that of expanding the networking dimension to the project level. We will continue building the capacities of programme bodies and national authorities, accompanying the trainings with a mix of support, advice and coaching, along the lines of what has been one of the most recognisable features of our Project so far. Capacity building activities at project level will likewise continue, topping the work developed in cooperation with programme and national bodies with a long-running capacity building scheme run in full by TESIM. Strong emphasis will be placed on the increase of coordination and synergies among Interreg NEXT programmes, among them and the rest of the Interreg family and with other funding instruments, notably the bilateral cooperation programmes managed by the EUDs. Different types of information resources will be made continuously available, mostly in the form of written guidance, but with an increased presence of thematic analyses along the way. While all these services remain essential to contribute to an improved programme management and implementation, the Project would prove incomplete without the massive list of activities meant to increase the visibility of the instrument. The implementation of these activities will be guided by three core foci: the transition from ENI CBC to Interreg NEXT, the new candidate status granted to Ukraine and Moldova – together with the European perspective for Georgia – and the fostering of the already existing cooperation with the Interact Programme. In this context, the continuity of the human factor cannot be neglected, building on a team which has developed a trusted relationship with all stakeholders, understands well the needs and maintains a high level of motivation.
The real run has just begun, meaning that we have now plenty of time to dwell in more detail on all the aspects which we have here presented to you. But we would not like to end this article without returning to the issue of expectations, those of yours actually. They have proven an extremely strong motivation for us and we will do everything in our hands so that they are fulfilled.