Having completed three quarters of the implementation time of the SUSTAIN project and four out of its six main activities, the expert of TEDK Chios, Mr. V. Kampouras was able to make a series of proposals and recommendations aimed at improving the current situation and increasing the efficiency of the participating Municipalities in the use of Town-Twinning and other EU Programmes.
According to Mr. Kampouras, despite all difficulties and obstacles faced by Cypriot Municipalities, there is a very lively interest from both officers and their Municipalities to participate in European Programmes.
According to the expert, a toolkit should therefore be created for Municipalities with the support of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, which should make an effort to steer the Municipalities of Cyprus and of the Northern Aegean Region, 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 the stakeholders.
According to Mr. Kampouras, this procedure should be strengthened and supported by existing tools, as well as others which will be produced in the framework of the SUSTAIN project, like the ones outlined below:
- Development of the intranet. On the first page of our issue, we referred in detail to the development of this tool. As pointed out, the intranet has been developed as an internal section of the website of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, which gives access only to registered users. These users will have access to partner searches, completed projects which can be considered as good practices, practical guides and other useful information.
- Editing of a “Practical Twinning Guide” (in Greek), containing good practices information, guidelines and tips for the successful implementation and use of the “Europe for citizens” programme. This Guide will be a permanent point of reference not only for the participating Municipalities and municipal officials of the Greek and Cypriot Municipalities to this project, but also for all of those who would like to participate in the “Europe for Citizens” Programme in the future.
- Annual publication of the “European Programmes’ Guide”. This Guide is already being published (in Greek) since 2007 by the Brussels Office of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, but it should be updated and upgraded.
- Re-activation of the inter-municipal network of European Affairs Officers of the Cypriot Municipalities. This network, which used to be active in the past in the framework of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, should be reconstituted and re-activated. Its aim should be the mutual support of its members, and the constant recording of targets, problems and opportunities in the sphere of European Programmes. The network could make use of the SUSTAIN intranet and gradually identify and exploit synergies and potential collaborations, with the support of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities.
- Offering support (advice, implementation guides and integrated examples) for the drafting of five-year “mini business plans” by the Municipalities, outlining their plans and objectives, regarding Town-Twinning and other European programs.
- Offering support for the drafting of project proposals to the Municipalities that do not have relevant experience and further step by step support until the full cycle of a first European project is completed.
- Editing of a terminology and “things to do or not to do” guide, for submitting, managing and implementing European projects.
- Registration of all qualified and experienced municipal personnel (e.g. in thematic areas such as IT, environment, e-health etc) and joint use of it, in the framework of a wider cooperation between Municipalities.
- Setting up of an “automatic and standardized process” for the participation of Municipalities to European Programmes. The process consists of four steps:
Step 1: Preparation of a Business Plan
Step 2: Search for calls, drafting or search and evaluation of the proposals based on one’s needs
Step 3: Implementation of the action
Step 4: Use and dissemination of results
The detailed description of the four steps of the process is available (in Greek) in the “Preliminary report outlining the current situation of Cypriot Municipalities regarding the use of Town-Twinning and other European programmes”, which is available on the intranet of the SUSTAIN project.
It is worth mentioning that almost all the proposals and recommendations of the expert have not only been adopted, but their implementation has already started. Thus, by the end of the year, when the SUSTAIN project will be completed, the Municipalities of Cyprus and of the Northern Aegean Region, will have a complete arsenal of tools at their disposal for the development of Town-Twinning and other European Projects.