Representatives of the R-SOL-E project, co-funded within Priority Axis 2 of our Programme, participated at the REGIOSTARS 2019 ceremony in Brussels with other finalists of the competition.
Every year the European Commision awards EU-funded projects that showcase new approaches and innovativeness in addressing regional challenges. The REGIOSTARS competition is open to projects receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund, European Social Fund, Interreg IPA-CBC and Interreg ENI-CBC funds, which fit in five thematic areas;
- promoting digital transformation;
- connecting the green, blue and grey;
- combatting inequalities and poverty;
- building climate-resilient cities;
- modernising health services.
This year, projects submitted 199 applications, out of which 24 were selected by the REGIOSTARS jury to enter the final stage. These 24 projects have been announced on a certificate ceremony held in the Berlaymont building in Brussels on 9 July 2019 and are now competing to become this year’s most original and innovative project funded by the EU.
Among the finalist projects announced in Brussels is R-SOL-E, shortened for Renewable Solar Energy, a project co-funded within the Interreg IPA CBC programme Croatia – Serbia 2014-2020 and the only finalist of three projects that have applied from our Programme – VISITUS and Take Care. R-SOL-E applied for the Building climate-resilient cities category and in this way has become one of EU-funded projects which in an unique way contribute to a more sustainable and green Europe. This was recognized by Marianne Thyssen, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour mobility, Marc Lemaitre, Director-General for Regional and Urban Policy and Lambert van Nistelrooij, former member of the European Parliament and Honorary Chair of the 2019 REGIOSTARS Jury, which handed the certificates to project representatives.
Mario Marolin, director of the Local Development Agency of the City of Belišće, represented the R-SOL-E project in Brussels and highlighted its impact: “The aim of the R-SOL-E project, shortened for Renewable Solar Energy, is to increase energy efficiency of public buildings in the Croatian and Serbian cross-border area. We accomplished this by using renewable energy sources in the City of Belišće and Municipality Gorjani, where we built solar power plants on six locations, and by installing 100 solar street lamps in suburban areas of Novi Sad. In addition, we jointly developed Sustainable Energy Action Plans with our project partners – Municipality Gorjani and City of Novi Sad, which will increase energy efficiency and help these regions in combatting climate change.”
Mr. Marolin also commented on the added value of EU funding: “The energy investments ensured savings in electrical energy consumption, which were then used for social measures. We managed to use these savings and co-finance day care for children in Belišće, making it free of charge. Our idea was to link energy efficiency investments with actual demographic challenges and in this way make a positive impact on the depopulation of Slavonia and Vojvodina.“
Photos by: Simon Pugh Photography / European Commision