On 19th of September, the 30th anniversary of European cross-border co-operation was celebrated in the new common heart of the twin city Valga-Valka. On this occasion 30 trees were symbolically planted in the new joint center of Valga-Valka. The Estonian Ambassador to Latvia Arti Hilpus, Latvian Ambassador to Estonia Raimonds Jansons, Mayor of Valga municipality Ester Karuse, Valka Parish Duma Chairman Vents Armands Krauklis, employees of the program managing authority and secretariat, representatives of TREV-2 Group and people involved in project implementation in Valga and Valka municipalities participated in the planting.
The European Territorial Cooperation Program, also known as Interreg, has been helping to implement cross-border projects in Europe since 1990. The aim of the programme is to support the sustainable development of border regions, to develop good neighborly co-operation and to offer people in border areas better opportunities for a successful and valued life.
ValgaValka is a twin city located on the border of two neighboring republics, Estonia and Latvia. A small stream separates the two cities and only a careful look catches when one city becomes another. The motto of the twin city “One city, two countries” emphasizes that Valga and Valka are one city for residents, visitors and entrepreneurs. The Valga-Valka twin city center will be completed with the support of the Estonia-Latvia programme, which is one of the largest Estonian-Latvian co-operation projects, with a total investment of 5 million euros. The new heart of the city has been created for people and therefore the space for pedestrians has been saved at the expense of cars – the sidewalks are wider, a new pedestrian street will be completed and a new pedestrian border-crossing bridge will be created in the middle of the area.
The total cost of the Valga-Valka twin city center project is 5,303,202.66 euros, of which approx. 57% or about 3 million euros is financed by the INTERREG Estonian-Latvian cross-border cooperation program 2014-2020 (ERDF). The budget of Valka municipality is 3.2 million euros, including the support of the Estonia-Latvia program 1.5 million euros (47.5%). The budget of Valga Parish Government is 2.1 million euros, including 1.5 million (70%) support from the Estonia-Latvia program.
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