Belgium and Germany jointly manage the Natural Park High Fens-Eifel. Authorities from both countries got together to formulate a mission statement on future cross-border collaboration.
The High Fens-Eifel Nature Park is managed by three authorities. They are located in Botrange (Belgium), Nettersheim (North Rhine Westphalia, Germany) and Prüm (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany). Since 1971 they gather twice per year to address topics such as nature conservation and tourism.
Yet, the Belgian and German authorities felt the need to intensify cooperation and initiate new, joint projects. With support from Interreg Euregio Meuse Rhine, they organised five workshops to discuss future concerns and objectives. Input from 78 participants resulted in a mission statement for future cross-border collaboration.
The mission statement sets ecological corridors, accessibility, multilingualism, and educational facilities as some of the natural park’s priorities. Also, tourists should receive better information. ‘Visitors sometimes lack information about tourist offers across the border, even though these are virtually on the doorstep.’ says Dominik Hosters of the North Rhine-Westphalian office.
Overcoming language barriers was an important objective of the workshops, says François Charlier, of the Walloon office. He spoke with his German counterparts through interpreters. ‘This simultaneous translation was something special. We brought together people who deal with similar topics, but who never shared experiences due to different languages.’
People to People
The development of a mission statement on future cooperation is part of the Interreg micro project Natural Park Prospects. The project receives EU-funding from the Interreg Euregio Meuse-Rhine.
Interreg’s People to People programme supports cross border exchanges between for example citizens, associations, public institutions or other organisations. They raise awareness about and encourage cross-border cooperation.
Read the article in Volksfreund.de