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Management of the Covid-19 and civil protection in the Four Motors for Europe

Representatives of the Four Motors for Europe explained the experience of their regional civil protection organisation and management of the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing their problems, acquired knowledge and learnt lessons. Moreover, in the lockdown and restrictions context, all the four associated regions are cross-border territories with other European states and consequently they had to address a variety of similar and critical issues.

This event took place on November 5th, 2020, and was jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency of the Catalan Government.

Exceptionally this Four Motors for Europe event was adapted as the region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes could not make a presentation due to the lack of competences of French regions in this area.

The seminary was inaugurated by Mr. Alfonso González Bondia, Director General of European and Mediterranean Affairs of the Government of Catalonia, who welcomed the speakers and remarked the importance of strengthening the association and network between the regions, which have similar characteristics and face many shared problems.

The first round table was centred in how the regions responded to the Covid-19 crisis from the civil protection. Mr. Sergio Delgado, deputy director of the Civil Protection Programmes of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of Catalona, highlighted the specificity of the Catalan territorial organisation, the different levels in the administrations and authorities, further emphasizing on the competences that the Catalan government has in emergency and civil protection. He also explained the challenges faced through the different phases of the pandemic.

Ms. Nina Grözinger, from the Department Civil Protection and Crisis Management of the Ministry of the Interior Baden-Württemberg, displayed the administrative structure, the challenges, lessons learned and the actions adopted by the state authorities of Baden-Württemberg.

Mr. Andrea Zaccone, Head of the Regional Structure for Civil Protection of Lombardy, and his assistant Ms. Chiara Ghidorsi, introduced the characteristics of the Civil Protection system in Italy and Lombardy, adding territorial data. Zaccone reminded that the first lockdown in Europe took place in the region, and later introduced the initiatives that were implemented and the lessons learned.

During the second round table, centred in the cross-border actions during the pandemics, Ms. Gemma Aubarell, Head of the Mediterranean Relations and European Network Service at the Catalan government, presented the Cross-Border Pyrenees Community (CTP), formed by the cross-border regions from Spain, France and Andorra and the Mediterranean Pyrenees Euroregion (EPM), formed by Occitanie region, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Aubarell detailed the identified obstacles, the proposals and the cross-border Catalan priorities.

Ms. Christina Diegelmann, Deputy Head of Unit in charge of Interregional and Cross-Border Cooperation for Baden-Württemberg, displayed the region’s borders before focusing on the cross-border challenges, management and lessons learned between Baden-Württemberg and the French region of Grand Est during the different phases of the pandemic. She ended up remarking the actions taken between the cross-border institutions; Infobest, the Upper Rhine Conference, Lake Constanz Conference and TRISAN.

Ms. Sabrina Bolzoni, from the International Relations Unit of Lombardia, focused on the important linguistic, cultural and economic relations between Lombardia and south Switzerland, especially with canton Ticino. Bolzoni presented the different axes of cooperation: institutional relations, interregional networks (Regio Insubrica, Arge Alp, Eusalp) and the Italy-Switzerland Interreg Program. Finally, Bolzoni highlighted the cross-border challenges, actions and the lessons learned.

In the conclusion, Ms. Imma Solé, deputy director of of Coordination and Emergency Management of the Ministry of home Affairs, thanked the participation of the speakers and stressed the usefulness and importance of exchanging information and experiences with such an unprecedented phenomenon as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Watch the debate again: link