24.04- Heeding the call

Ivan Curzolo speaks openly about.... the opening of the first call for proposals !
Ivan Curzolo 

The answer to the mystery is finally revealed: the first call for proposals will open on the 5th May. Get the insider's view about the call (but not only) in this interview with Ivan Curzolo, the Head of the Project Development and Management Unit.


SEEnews:  Could you please provide a little background information about yourself?

Ivan Curzolo: 33 years old, Italian by nationality and culture but strongly influenced by Eastern winds and atmospheres, even more so now  having been working in the South East Europe JTS since January.  I have been involved with territorial cooperation (though I would prefer to call it INTERREG  to keep on with the tradition) since the 1997 - 1999 programming period.

SEEnews: From the Alps to South East Europe (from Rosenheim to Budapest): what are your impressions of the journey?

Ivan Curzolo: I left snow and green fields- a natural landscape, for a big European capital. I can see mainly strengths and opportunities, but also a few weaknesses and threats! It will not come as a big surprise if I say that the cooperation areas are radically different, both in cultural and methodological approach. Nevertheless, they both show a rising interest and expectation for transnational cooperation, which ultimately leads to an increased participation in such initiatives.

SEEnews: Which countries of the South East Europe Space have you visited so far? You can expand and say what you have liked or not.

Ivan Curzolo: I would put the question the other way around, that is, which South East European countries haven't I visited so far?  Well,  I am still missing the Ukraine and The Republic of Moldova, our neighbourhood Partner States. That said, I have no doubts that I will fill this gap quite soon!

SEEnews:  and Life in Budapest?

Ivan Curzolo: It may be too early to say, but I consider Budapest a great place to live in. Some hard times because of the language, but hopefully this will improve.

SEEnews: What are the most important things that a potential applicant needs to know about the SEE Programme?

Ivan Curzolo: Even though there are still significant differences in the  money allocation between EU and non EU countries, the 2007 - 2013 programming period gives one of the first real possibilities for developing joint transnational projects with partners coming from candidate and potential candidate countries. There are other opportunities at a cross-border level, but for wider scale cooperation, our programme is definitely "the Option".

SEEnews: If you could define the essence of the first call for proposals in a few words, what would these be?

Ivan Curzolo: At the JTS we are a technical body. We can make proposals and provide suggestions, though we are aware that we have to implement the strategic view of the Monitoring Committee, not our own. To assist with this, we have tried to build up  procedures which have taken into consideration all of the work carried out so far by the Partner States. We have carefully read all the documents prepared under the supervision of the Task Force , including those of the Partner States that supervised the preparation of the new SEE Transnational Programme 2007 ? 2013.

The strategic view coming out of these documents is clear: a strong integration between EU and non EU countries, a balanced use of both bottom up and top down approaches, a  need for sound outputs and a deeper focus on the role of partners within the partnerships are all key. By way of example, the consideration of such feedback has led to a proposal to use specific options, i.e. 10% ERDF flexibility rule, and to look for a the real  proactive involvement of all SCPs.

SEEnews: If you were a potential applicant what sort of project would you like to set up?

Ivan Curzolo: As I do not want to influence anybody, I will not reveal my "favourite" Priority or Area of Intervention!

Generally speaking, what I would really like to set up is a joint project with the genuine involvement of partners at all stages (definition of the idea, drafting and implementation).
I would like to succeed in building up stable relationships with my partners, relationships that even go beyond the production of a quality joint project. From my past experiences as project manager, I am still happy to say that I have maintained personal contacts with former colleagues which has really enriched my life (besides helping with the job!).

SEEnews: A last word of advice for the potential applicants?

Ivan Curzolo: Try to do your best by submitting  a high quality Expression of Interest with this 1st call, but do not forget  that we will have at least other four calls, so don't give up if you do not manage to submit an EoI or you are not invited to the 2nd step. You will have other opportunities!

SEEnews: Grazie, Ivan!