Within the framework of the SUSTAIN project, an expert from TEDK Chios, Greece, Mr. V. Kampouras, visited Cyprus from 9 to 19 of May. The expert visited several Municipalities and met representatives of the majority of Cypriot Municipalities, in order to capture the current situation in each one of them, concerning their participation in European Programmes, especially in the “Europe for Citizens” Programme. Where it is feasible and needed, a closer cooperation will be established between the expert and those municipalities who are interested but unable to submit project proposals.

Mr. Kampouras’ visit has been co-financed through the “Europe for Citizens” Programme, as part of the SUSTAIN project, which aims to reinforce the cooperation of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities and TEDK Chios, in order for them to jointly support their members’ participation in the “Europe for Citizens” Programme. For this purpose and for practical reasons, five main meetings were organized in Cyprus (one in each province and a separate one for the occupied municipalities of Cyprus).

The meetings gathered representatives from all Cypriot municipalities (except three), including Mayors, Municipal Secretaries and municipal personnel, with a maximum of four representatives from each Municipality. The high participation rate helped Mr. Kampouras, to get a complete picture concerning the participation of Cypriot Municipalities in European Programmes.

In each of these meetings, the twinning coordinator of the Union of Municipalities, Ms. Kalia Martides, presented a summary of the SUSTAIN project and the “Europe for Citizens” Programme, while Mr. Kampouras’ presentation focused on the methodology of the project and facilitated the gathering of all the necessary information concerning the participation of Cypriot Municipalities in European Programmes.

The participants were then asked to describe the experience of their Municipalities in European Programmes, the process they follow in order to participate in them and the problems encountered at all stages of their participation.

In each of the meetings, Mr. Kampouras clearly stated that the aim of the SUSTAIN project is to help Municipalities, in order to acquire all the necessary knowledge and skills, both theoretically as well as in practice, for them to be able to participate independently and effectively in European Programmes. Ms. Martides underlined the fact that the Union of Cyprus Municipalities will accompany and guide the Municipalities whenever necessary.

Despite all difficulties and obstacles faced by Municipalities, according to the participants, there was a very lively interest from both officers and their Municipalities to participate in European Programmes.

Based on the above, it has been made clear that it would be appropriate for the subsequent implementation phases of the SUSTAIN project, to steer the Municipalities of Cyprus and Northern Aegean, towards the implementation of a well-structured process of participation and implementation of European projects, which to the extent that it will be followed would ensure success and maximum benefit for stakeholders.