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#05/2019 #Europe: more than you imagine!
Europe event at the District Government of Münster

Gruppenbild LIFE-Team

he LIFE IP ‚Atlantic Region DE‘ during the Europe event. From left to right: Head of the department ‘Environment” Dr. Christel Wies, District President Dorothee Feller, Project Coordinator Dr. Sebastian Schmidt, Implementation Manager Corinna Kaiser, and Section Head Britta Kraus © Bezirksregierung Münster

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Not only specialist conferences and information exchange with other projects are among the ‘obligatory actions’ of each LIFE project. Notably cross-regional events aimed at the general public can contribute effectively to informing about the measures funded by the EU Commission. One such good example has been the Europe event in the district government of Münster which took place on 3rd May 2019.

"#Europe: more than you imagine!" has been the motto of this event. One of its highlights was the awarding ceremony of the identical photo competition "#Europe: more than you imagine!". District President Dorothee Feller, together with designer Dieter Sieger and photo designer Markus Hauschild, awarded eleven winners from around 240 submissions. All the winning photos were presented to the public in an exhibition. Around 150 visitors gathered information about Europe and interesting projects in the Münsterland and Emscher-Lippe region. Starting with the cross-border rescue service and EU funding to the ‘Flamingo Route’ and of course the LIFE IP ‘Atlantic Region De’, visitors were able to gain exciting insights into the topics economy, security, education and environment. The representation of the ‘europe direct Information Centre Steinfurt’ informed about the tasks and competences of the European Parliament. The information centre had been selected by the European Commission via procurement by tender to bring Europe closer to citizens.

Security

Detailed information upon the projects was provided to visitors at various information booths. Within the topic safety, the ‘PREpare project’ in the German-Dutch border region EUREGIO presented itself. The project facilitates cross-border emergency aid in the district of Borken and the Netherlands. In some regions, the ambulance service from the neighbouring country may be faster at a place of accident than that of the home country. Since in an emergency every minute can be crucial, due to the project it is quite possible that Dutch emergency medical assistants will save the life of a person in Bocholt who suffers a heart attack. Similarly, German emergency medical assistants can provide fast and unbureaucratic assistance in the event of a traffic accident in the Netherlands. The project is unique in North Rhine-Westphalia and is funded by the INTERREG program with 600,000 euros.

Economy

Visitors were also able to find out about the topics of European funding and regional development. Representatives of the Euregio answered questions about the work and tasks of the Euregio. In addition, they presented INTERREG projects which are being implemented in the region, such as the INTERREG project ‘GrenzInfoPunkt’. This project provides help to cross-border commuters - employees, employers and students – in regard to employment services, social security and taxation. Two projects of the European Regional Development Fund were also presented with a multimedia stele: the Westerholt leisure facility in Herten and the Hohe Mark nature park 'Waldband'.

Education

At the booth of the EU Office visitors were informed about the possibility of internships abroad for pupils or trainees at vocational colleges and had the possibility to receive individual advice. Past and future Erasmus+ projects of vocational colleges which have been or will be supervised by the EU Office provided interesting insights into their various activities.

Communicating the European idea and inspiring for Europe is an educational mission which schools have been devoting themselves to for years. One way to fulfil this educational mission in a creative and motivating way is the participation in the Europe competitions of North Rhine-Westphalia. The organisation team of these competitions presented the particular competitions as well as many regional winners.

Last, but not least, the EU is providing financial support to numerous environmental protection projects in the district. The funding allows for the protection and optimization of protected animal and plant species and their habitats, the development into a natural watercourse and flood plain of the river Ems and the promotion of cross-border nature-based tourism. Employees of the environmental department of the district government of Münster presented selected projects funded by the EU and answered questions, including, of course, the integrated LIFE project "Atlantic Region DE" which is implemented by the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony from October 2016 to September 2026. The district government of Münster is responsible for the overall coordination of the project and the operational implementation of the concrete actions in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Gruppenbild

The team of the former LIFE+ Project Ems: Dr. Hannes Schimmer and Gabriele Weßling © Bezirksregierung Münster

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LIFE+ Project Ems

From October 2010 to December 2014, the district government of Münster implemented the EU-funded LIFE+ project ‘Near-natural river and flood plain development of the river Ems at Einen - dynamics and habitat diversity’ with a total budget of 2.8 million euros. The river route worked on in the project amounted to approx. 4.5 kilometres, the entire project area covers 230 hectares. Watercourses were extended, banks were cleared, migration barriers were eliminated and a flood area was created. The site is located in the SAC ‘DE 4013-301 Emsaue Kreis Warendorf Gütersloh’ and can now better function as a compound and retreat area and recapture the lost variety of alluvial and aquatic habitats via the created initial structures.

Flamingo route

An extraordinary project of nature tourism has created an extraordinary cycle route at the German-Dutch border area: The flaming route which is 450 kilometres long and designed as a round trip leads through the regions of West Münsterland, Achterhoek and Twente. In addition to the numerous nature reserves, you can also discover beautiful places and regional peculiarities. As a result, the promotion of nature and tourism initiated by EUREGIO via the Interreg funding over several project phases has also been an important success. In the course of the overall project observation towers, information pavilions, the Venn depot at the Zwillbrocker Venn as well as information boards along the route were set up.

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