EUROPARC Federation amongst applicants in new Interreg programmes

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A wave of interest hits the 2014-2020 Interreg programmes

The new Interreg programmes Alpine Space and CENTRAL EUROPE closed their first calls recently and received a wave of expressions of interests for the first step of the application process. More than 200 light application forms were submitted to the Alpine Space and 620 to the CENTRAL EUROPE programme. Until 2020 around 140 million Euros (Alpine Space) and 80 million Euros (CENTRAL EUROPE) will be made available for projects in these regions.

“We are pleased that the first call of the new Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme attracted such huge interest all over central Europe,” said Christiane Breznik from the managing authority in the City of Vienna. “It shows that the programme addresses relevant challenges and needs of the programme area. Private organisations are well represented among the submitted proposals, with 37 percent of applicants coming from the private sector.”

EUROPARC together with Federparchi-EUROPARC Italy and other partners submitted two projects with a focus on sustainable tourism development, one to the Alpine Space and one to the CENTRAL EUROPE programme. Another project was submitted to the CENTRAL EUROPE programme in partnership with the Western Pomerania Regional Landscape Parks (PL) as well as member and non-member parks of EUROPARC on fostering transboundary cooperation in Protected Areas in Germany and Eastern Europe. We very much look forward to the outcomes of the first step of application process, which we will expect for September this year.

For those of our members situated in North and West Europe, the call for Interreg North West Europe programme is still open. Deadline is 18th May.

Communique from the EUROPARC President

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Dissolution of EUROPARC Consulting GmbH

Dear Member,
As many of you are aware, the EUROPARC Federation founded EUROPARC Consulting over 12 years ago. In that time the Consulting company grew in its reach and expertise, proving high quality consultancy to EUROPARC members and others, developing the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas and providing financial support to the Federation.

EUROPARC Consulting has been managed initially by Rachel Wieting (DE) who did an excellent job in the set up phase, and continued to assist in bookkeeping and assisting Wilf Fenten, who took over as managing Director. He has managed Consulting in an exemplary fashion, with support from Anne Webster (UK). EUROPARC Consulting was chaired initially by the late Aitken Clark and laterally by Richard Partington with support from the advisory board from Hans Schiphorst (NL), Norbert Heukemes (BE), Richard Blackman (UK) and input from the Federation’s presidents and directors over the years.

However the economic downturn has taken its toll. The pressure on the Federation to maintain its financial viability has impacted on Consulting. As well as Consulting itself laterally struggling to win contracts in a crowded market, has meant that, with reluctance, the Federation has decided to close the operations of EUROPARC Consulting GmbH through liquidation.

There is no specific requirement within the EUROPARC statutes to deal with this circumstance and given the speed of actions needed, the EUROPARC council decided to mandate the President to take all and necessary actions. The legal advice provided was to liquidate the company as the Federation itself could not support financially Consulting’s operations.

Therefore we will begin the process of liquidation as of 25th April 2015 and appoint a liquidator to close the company under German law.

I want to pay tribute to all the consultants who have provided their expertise, to the advisory board for the long service and sterling work, but mostly pay tribute to Wilf Fenten who had ably managed Consulting well above and beyond his duty.

We are sad to lose a part of our EUROPARC family, but tough times have required tough decisions. We aim to remain in touch with consultants who have developed the protected area expertise you, our members, may require, so that body of work is not lost.

I hope you appreciate that action was necessary swiftly, but council will provide a full report in the general assembly on 27th October in Regensburg to which you are warmly invited, and I hope we will meet. Look out for more information about the conference and general assembly next month.

In the meantime, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me or indeed, I am sure, the headquarters will be able to address your queries.


Ignace Schops
President EUROPARC Federation

The 2015 short list for the Natura 2000 Award is announced!

Maas Schwalm Nette Nature Park, EUROPARC candidate member for the Natura 2000 Award © Silke Weich

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Support and vote now for our candidate member!

The Natura 2000 Award was launched by the European Commission in 2013, with the first prizes awarded on Natura 2000 Day in 2014. The annual Award aims to raise awareness about the Natura 2000 network, showcase excellence and encourage networking between people working on Natura 2000 sites.

It awards prizes to those working on the management of, or to raise awareness about Natura 2000 in five award categories: Conservation; Socio-Economic Benefits; Communication; Reconciling Interests and Perceptions; Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking.

The 2015 short-list has been announced and the public vote is now open! Check the list of the 23 finalists on the 2015 Award Finalists page and vote for our member “the German-Dutch Nature Park Maas-Schwalm-Nette”, candidate for the Cross-border Cooperation and Networking category.

The finalist with the most votes will win the EU Citizens’ Award and, together with the winners in the 5 Award categories, will be announced at a special ceremony on 21 May. The vote will close at midnight on the 6 of May.

Natura 2000 Logo

Natura 2000 Logo

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet with all the finalists and other important stakeholders and register now to participate in the Ceremony.

The EUROPARC Team wishes good luck to all the candidates!

Charter Network Meeting, registrations are now open!

European Charter for sustainable tourism © EUROPARC Federation

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Register now for the 9th Charter Network Meeting that will take place in Vila Nova de Cerveira (PT) from 4th-7th May!

This is a unique opportunity for tourism business and parks to showcase their work in sustainable tourism and to learn from each other how we can improve. Through key note speeches, and practical workshops we will look at new ways forward in the Charter for Sustainable Tourism and how it contributes to a resource-efficient, green and competitive, low-carbon and climate resilient economy!

You will find more info about registrations and the programme of the event here.

Please notice that although the Charter Network Meeting will be lead in English, some parts of the event will be broken down into different language groups.

Don’t miss this great opportunity and register soon!

We hope to see you all there!