Preparation of common projects
To put into reality the goal - work out projects to support development of the region started already in autumn 1996. Then was taken a decision about forming working groups for working out united projects on following directions:
Region map with an info booklet;
· United database; creating a network for fast information change;
· Historical and cultural heritage studys;
· Organising financial support for the Councils' work.
In 1997 the Councils' financial workgroups and meetings of the Secretarial Institutions the seek possibilities of providing financial support to united projects. Under discussion are several foundations of EU and other international organizations. Also some bi- and trilateral projects were selected, according to the priorities. One of them - Development of Cross-Border Cooperation in the Pskov-Livonia Region: VISION 2010 – has been selected among others and quickly formed the main task. EU Phare CREDO gave a strong impulse to start the united project, to bind EU means with the region. Unfortunately the first application did not find a support, mainly because the leaders of the project missed strong position to find finances for three-lateral project near the Russian border. In spite of this all the representatives of the 7 region in the framework of VISION 2010 got a really good experience – how to build up teams, not speaking about personal know-how. Next summer, on the basis of CREDO all the partners continue with that work. Athe local governments and institutions worked out 18 different projects, 6 of them got financial support as planned. Among the 6 was reworked VISION 2010. The experiences are from A to Z , including feeling of pride as well as disappointment. With Omnia the three-lateral project does not work in full extent any more – as at the beginning with so big hopes. The specialists of Omnia were skilful organisators of seminars, excellent performers of good speeches, workers on materials, users of various forms of labor, but the process of coordination seemed difficult. Some of the schemes, proposed by Swedish consultants touches issues, that local governments are not upon to solve in the frames of local projects – for example optimizing the procedure of getting over the Russian border. Also there was no full harmony among partners, when one of the participants was the company of foreign origin. The members of the Council turned out confidence of their own, they learned, how to defend their ideas, to notify their priorities. The priorities were – real, tangible results, not only seminars and consultations. Under support of SIDA at the moment one very interesting initiative was getting into realm : that was an ecological museum, saving the heritage of little setu ethnic group, living in territory, divided between Estonia and Russian Pskov oblast..
In September 1997 the partners promoted one project upon the others – to elaborate united tourism routes through the whole region. However – only similarly in February 2000 in Latvia by Phare CBC National Program supported project could put this plan into reality: a tourism work group worked out an itinerary, leaflet and map. The route included a three-day-trip and was the most interesting for the tourism entrepreneurs in the region, info centers, staff of Foreign Affairs Ministeries of the three states and press.
1998 from Norway the Council got an offer of some monetary support. Now a small program was under work for the next period, go-between the Local Governments Union of Norway. The Council has been considered this proposal as a real appreciation to their work. The invitation to visit Norway provided new information and experience to the leaders of regions and counties by meeting vis-a-vis, forming workgroups etc. . With the help of Norwegians in the framework of these programs have been started small, but prolific projects . For example: the camp for Youth exchange "Life traces after us" , the info-page about Councils' work, a study of ecological situation of the water basins in border area. In these projects all 12 partners were involved
The habitants of the three regions have expressed their particular interest to the cooperation – to see and feel tangible, economically useful results that can be transferred to the future. The recent movements have indicated new needs for effectiveness in the joint work, more and more actual is involving new levels of society in this partnership. This encouraged the partners to have wider view on results, to estimate resources and grasps, to investigate the experience of others. The time of realization of project Vision 2010 is a sinuous link in process of development of the Council – from cooperation in the framework of single projects till working out full cooperation programs and bringing them into reality.