In 2011 Spain presided over the MED Programme, thus the programme's Monitoring and Steering Committee meetings as well as the annual event were organised together with and hosted by the Spanish Presidency and held in Valencia and Barcelona.
The preparation and organisation of the First Joint Conference of the 13 Transnational Territorial Cooperation Porgrammes in Katowice, Poland marked an important milestone in 2011 and a starting point for a coordinated and shared approach among these 13 programmes. After this first event in September, the programmes jointly facilitated a workshop at the Open Days in October 2011 in Brussels. During this workshop, representatives of relevant European institutions gave their opinions about the future of Transnational Cooperation and received input for the debates about the EC regulatory framework proposal. At their meeting on 24 and 25 November 2011 in Poznań, the Ministers responsible for Regional Policy, Territorial Cohesion and Urban Development of the 27 EU Member States received the conclusions of the conference in Katowice and its follow up in Brussels.
The MED Programme's annual event 'Smart growth and the MED Programme - Close up on past, present and future transnational innovation' took place in Barcelona in October 2011 and dealt with questions about innovation and smart growth. What is innovation, what are innovative projects and what do projects and programme need to develop to contribute to smart growth in Europe? Only few days before the annual event, the legislative proposals for the future Cohesion Policy were published. Thus, the annual event offered the possibility to present and discuss this framework.
The MED Programme's capitalisation process got in focus: after external experts to accompany the process were selected and contracted, concrete activities got started. In summer 2011 a first workshop series for first call projects was organised in Rome. After that, questionnaires were developed and submitted to all MED projects. Around 60 projects participated and thus the programme received a highly satisfying and valuable feedback. A second workshop, the 'clustering and capitalisation day' took place in Marseille end of November for all MED projects. Based on the results of these past events, ongoing surveys and further consultations, project clusters will be further identified, discussed and finally set up in the first half of 2012. Also a call for capitalisation projects will be further tailored and precised during this period.
In 2011 the outcomes of the programme's in itinere evaluation assigned in 2009, were presented. Based on the results, the programme also started to intensively discuss the future: In July a working group composed of Member States, JTS and MA representatives was established to initiate analysis and discussions necessary to build up the future MED Programme based on lessons learned within programme and project implementation of the current MED, but also other programmes of the European Commission. This approach ('experience feedback method') will be further continued in 2012.
And what happened in the Med project world?
The first 4 strategic projects were approved in 2011: three projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energies (approved in February 2011) and one project in the field of maritime safety (approved in October 2011). These strategic projects benefit from the newly implemented shared management of IPA funds. The MED Programme's Monitoring Committee accepted to integrate IPA financial management to the programme and in March 2011 the European Commission approved the modification to the Operational Programme accordingly.
The MED Programme now comprises a total number of 105 projects. While the pioneer strategic projects started (the latest approved project is called MEDESS-4MS), first classical projects of the first call were coming to an end.
A call for strategic project proposals on accessibility and ICT was opened in April 2011 (more specifically: objective 3.1 'Improvement of maritime accessibility and of transit capacities through multi-modality and intermodality' and objective 3.2 'Support to the use of information technologies for a better accessibility and territorial cooperation').