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The Maritime Transport Cluster (MTC) was actively involved in the panel debate Consolidating our investment: How to secure maximum benefit from cooperation projects", organised by the NSRP Secretariat (Interreg IV B) on 9th October during the Open Days in Brussels.

The panel consisted of regional and national representatives from across Europe, and those working in cluster projects who gave concrete examples of what can be achieved by cooperation projects and clusters. MTC was represented by the project partner Pim BONNE (Flemish Ministry of Mobility and Public Works) on the panel. During a lively debate the panel focused during the first session on experiences so far and the content of what clusters have been working with.

MTC stated that there is certainly an increased added value in clustering, as it besides others allows to bring project results to new and important stakeholders by very targeted communication. MTC for example consolidated the results of 14 maritime transport related projects in the NSR. The outcome was a policy paper with ten priority themes for the future. Each individual project’s contribution was highlighted in the paper.  There is a lot of interest in the outcomes of the cluster project, which means that also the outcomes of all individual projects became more visible. With the cluster work MTC bridged the gap between Interreg NSR projects and national and European stakeholders. Project results were brought to new stakeholders. Targeted communication efforts were made and will be further made until the end of this year towards the European Commission, European Parliament and Member States. Not all individual Interreg projects have the contacts or resources to do so. The fact that our cluster represents a common voice from the NSRP on maritime transport, resulted in increased interested in the outcomes of all projects involved.

Panel at the Open Days

Copyright: Open Days

The second  session was focusing much more on the role of clustering in wider programme strategic processes – What can cluster results contribute to plans for the future as a way of summarising progress so far and identifying the most important new directions for action?
Pim Bonne stressed out that MTC provides strategic input to the NSRP (and outside) on the future of maritime transport. The whole partnership and its supporter believe that the MTC policy paper is an excellent input when elaborating the transport sections in future operational programmes. At least for the NSR it provides valuable input for Interreg V, based on a bottom-up approach.
Furthermore cluster projects can play a role in bridging the gap between now and the start of the next programming period in 2014. Clusters can consolidate the work done in the current programming period and provide an input to the next one, combining the viewpoints of all stakeholders (including the business sector). This input is valuable, as the bigger picture is in the focus. It should be considered to keep this type of projects possible in the future, next to the existing ‘regular’ Interreg projects.

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About MTC

The MTC Policy Paper “Maritime Transport and Future Policies - Perspectives from the North Sea Region” is a compilation of results generated by the North Sea Region Programme project Maritime Transport Cluster in 2011/12.
The intention of this paper is to provide a coordinated and comprehensive picture of the hot topics for maritime transport in the North Sea Region and to present concrete recommendations for the Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the countries in the North Sea Region (EU Member States and Norway).  In this way the paper is intended to act as an inspiration and to contribute to discussions on future EU cohesion and transport policy developments, thereby providing a common North Sea Region voice on these issues.

Downloaded the full paper: /sites/default/files/MTC-%20Policy%20Paper_0.pdf