When we talk about making something better or taking something to the next level, we almost always say that the key is in cooperation. Cooperation is the key in exports, innovation, marketing etc. But very often cooperation is hard to establish, for different reasons. It is important to stress that the notion of cooperation is the basis of the Estonia-Russia Programme (Programme). By preparing and implementing the projects, you are already doing something special and different, you are really cooperating!
The first step to have strong cross border cooperation projects and partnerships is to get to know each other, share ideas and find partners who are ready to invest their time, know-how and resources. For you this stage is already passed or is at its end. The Programme is hoping to give its assistance to as many projects as possible in order to fulfill the set goals and indicators.
But, as always, the possibilities are much more limited than the real needs which means that there has to be a selection of the final projects to be financed. Another thing to mention is that for this programming period the European Commission is putting extra attention to outputs and results. So the message is that the project must have a real and measurable impact which is why the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how should be answered as clearly as possible. The presented project has to show the added value it creates and the assessors should get the feeling that every euro spent to this project is worth because it has the potential to create two euros, literally speaking. This means that the project has to prove that 1+1 is not 2 but 3, because synergies should emerge from cooperation.
When we look at the thematic objectives under which the projects have to fit then we can see that the Programme offers a lot of possibilities. We have the development of SMEs, environmental protection and support to local/regional governance. You are welcome to be creative and innovative to realize projects which find answers to the most challenging question the programme area is facing.
Again, and here the suggestion is not new/original, the key to success lies within the efficient preparatory work with the documents, legal materials, applications and contracts. Think it worth to spend the extra time on preparatory work at the beginning in order to win the double time back in the future due to the avoidance of possible misinterpretations and questions. And here of course the Managing Authority and the Joint Technical Secretariat are willing to help and consult you as much as we can.
Wish you out of box thinking and fruitful project implementations!
Managing Authority of the Estonia-Russia CBC Programme
Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Estonia