On 21 November 2014 Estonia-Latvia Programme celebrated the ending programme period.
The location of celebration - Valga Railway Station – has symbolic meaning for the programme. Firstly, being the only twin town on the border of Estonia and Latvia, Valga/Valka has a history of long term cooperation. Secondly, Valga Railway station is the only spot on the border today where the trains of two countries meet. The title of the event „Stopover Celebration” represents the idea of time between the two programme periods. The stations are also the places to stop and to meet between the travelling. Valga Station building was partly renovated with the support of the Estonia-Latvia Programme. The participants of the Stopover event had a chance to see the non-renovated halls of the station to experience the authentic atmosphere while meeting the old and the new at the same time. With the help of Tartu Uus Teater (Tartu New Theatre) and visual installations of Aleksandr Šelepin (Spectromatric Visuals) the old halls of the station turned into a conference venue.
The presentations in Valga emphasized different aspects and life experience in connecting two countries and people. Estonian Minister of the Interior Mr. Hanno Pevkur and Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Mr. Edgars Tavars confirmed the importance of such cooperation continuity. The Mayors of Valga and Valka twin towns, Mr. Kalev Härk and Mr. Vents Armands Krauklis took the cooperation potentiality further by presenting together the idea of the joint city and business centre. The evening entertainment was organized for all citizens, with the music bands and youth choir of Valga Music School and with a special program from the International Short Film Festival „Sleepwalkers“.
More information on the implemented projects in 2007 – 2013 is described in a new book “Estonia – Lativa Stories” which was first presented in Riga National Library in September, and in Valga Railway Station in November. Behind every project initiative there is a story of how the ideas evolved, how the partners were searched and discovered, and how it all helped to activate cooperation in border regions. The stories about 67 supported projects are written by the Latvian and Estonian journalists who specially researched their interviewers and the impact of cooperation.
The program budget’s co-financing by the European Regional Development Fund was more than 38 million euros in 2007-2013. The largest share of financial support, 36% (appr. 13 MEUR) of the programme budget was directed to the public sector including construction of roads. 22% (appr. 8 MEUR) was directed to the local municipalities and 13% (4,8 MEUR) to the universities and research centres. For seven years nearly 100 000 people were involved in joint activities which represents 5% of the total population in the programme area.
Here you will find the news about the event in Estonian National TV (in Estonian).