Celebrating 900 Interreg Volunteers

By Milena Pallotta, Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)

Launched in 2017, the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) initiative has played a pivotal role in enhancing the social dimension of Territorial Cooperation across Europe. By deploying motivated young volunteers at the heart of Interreg programmes and projects, IVY has not only enriched cooperation with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas but also fostered a sense of European unity and solidarity.

Jip Wolterinck, IVY volunteer - portrait
Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) is an initiative of the European Commission managed by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR). To celebrate this milestone, the AEBR asked Jip Wolterinck, the 900th volunteer, to share her impressions and opinions on the IVY initiative. Jip is currently an IVY Reporter for the Interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland programme.


Interviewer (Milena Pallotta): Why did you choose to volunteer with IVY?
Jip Wolterinck: I chose to be an IVY volunteer because I wanted to learn more about how an Interreg programme functions. IVY is an accessible way to get to work in an Interreg programme and see firsthand the different processes and people involved in organising it.


Interviewer (Milena Pallotta): What do you think is the added value of volunteering with IVY?
Jip Wolterinck: Volunteering with IVY is a valuable experience because it teaches me what the EU is doing on a regional level, directly with citizens, businesses, and organizations. Moreover, I am learning how projects are set up and coordinated. I also get to meet different stakeholders from the various projects all over the programme area through my rapporteurship.


Interviewer (Milena Pallotta): What do you wish for the future of IVY?
Jip Wolterinck: I hope that IVY becomes (even) more known among young people who want to experience working in an EU programme.


The success of IVY underscores the vital role of youth in shaping the future of Europe. Over the years, IVY volunteers have contributed to the social, economic, and environmental development of regions, addressing challenges ranging from environmental sustainability to social inclusion and economic growth. They have worked on diverse projects, including cross-border healthcare, cultural exchanges, and sustainable tourism, demonstrating the multifaceted impact of Territorial Cooperation.
The deployment of 900 volunteers is a major achievement for the IVY initiative, highlighting the importance of youth in regional development. As we celebrate this success, we look forward to continued collaboration and growth, inspiring more young people to join and strengthen the bonds across Europe.
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