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Highlights from the EuroVelo General Meeting 2022

Wednesday, June 29, 2022
The largest ever edition of the annual meeting of the National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) took place on 13 June 2022. The meeting was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, coinciding with the Velo-city 2022 Conference, but in a hybrid format, so that others could join online as well.

The EuroVelo General Meeting (EVGM) is an opportunity for the NECC/Cs to catch-up with each other and share experiences and best practices. It also allows ECF to present the latest developments connected to the central coordination of the EuroVelo network.

As with last time, this year's edition was a hybrid event with over 50 international participants registered - 28 joining in-person and 25 joining online. This represents a new record for the number of representatives of NECC/Cs, EuroVelo Council members (and candidates) and the EuroVelo Management Team taking part.

Some of the key moments of the meeting are set out below.

Presentation of the 2021 Annual Report and 2022 Workplan

The EuroVelo Management Team presented the overview of the 2021 Annual Report and the 2022 Workplan.

Ed Lancaster, EuroVelo Director, picked out the successful EuroVelo and Cycling Tourism Conference that was held in Barcelona; the establishment of the EuroVelo Data Hub to measure the impact of our work; and the #MoreCyclingTourism communication campaign as some of the highlights of 2021. He also explained that two new Long Term Management Agreements were established related to EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route.

EuroVelo General Meeting 2022 in Ljubljana
EuroVelo General Meeting 2022 in Ljubljana

Marta Orihuel, EuroVelo and Projects Officer, then presented the milestones for the year to come. She outlined the necessity to work on Trans-European Cycle Route (TEN-T) Network and UNECE’s Pan-European Cycle Route Network. The EuroVelo Route Development Guidance manual will be updated in the autumn and the EuroVelo Management Team (EVMT) will also manage applications to add new routes or major additions to existing routes as the next deadline is coming up at the end of the year.

Looking a bit further ahead, Marta also announced that there will be a new EuroVelo Overview Map in Spring 2023, so the EVMT will be asking for input from the NECC/Cs with that.

Farewell to Käthi Diethelm, Lukas Stadtherr and Ed Lancaster

The EVGM was also an occasion to bid a fond farewell to Käthi Diethelm and Lukas Stadtherr who have been members of the EuroVelo Council since it was established with Käthi serving as chair all that time.

It was also the last EVGM of Ed Lancaster, who will be stepping down as EuroVelo Director in the summer after 11 years with ECF.

Tributes were paid to all three, as they have all made a significant contribution to the development of the network over the years.

Käthi Diethelm, Lukas Stadtherr, Ed Lancaster
Käthi Diethelm, Lukas Stadtherr, Ed Lancaster

Approval of new Austrian NECC

We also celebrated the successful application of Austria, which upgraded from having a National EuroVelo Coordinator to a National EuroVelo Coordination Centre!

If you want to learn more on this topic, click here to read our dedicated article.

EuroVelo Council

We welcomed three new members to the EuroVelo Council: Christian Weinberger, Pinar Pinzuti and Spiros Papageorgiou. The EuroVelo Council acts as ECF’s advisory body and helps with the implementation and operation of EuroVelo. Jesper Porksen, from Denmark, was also elected the new Chair replacing Käthi Diethelm.

More information in our article.

Slovenian NECC presentation

As is tradition at the EVGM, the host NECC/C then had the opportunity to present the latest developments on the EuroVelo network in their country. Bojan Žižek, Coordinator of the Slovenian National EuroVelo Coordination Centre, showed that significant investments in the cycling infrastructure had already been made – more than 1,500km have already been developed. He underlined the work that has been accomplished on EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and the success of the coastal cycling path between Koper and Izola. He explained that EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail was signposted in 2020 and that investments were now being made in traffic safety along the route. Finally, he also mentioned the ongoing work to develop infrastructure along EuroVelo 9 – Baltic – Adriatic, which crosses the entire country.

There is also a lot of work to integrate Slovenian railways to cycling routes. Another achievement is the dedication of ten places for bicycles on Slovenian trains.

EuroVelo General Meeting 2022 in Ljubljana
EuroVelo General Meeting 2022 in Ljubljana

Finally, each NECC/Cs had the opportunity to share recent successes and current challenges with the rest of the group. It was heartening to hear about so much progress being made across the continent but also interesting that there are a lot of common challenges being faced by the network regardless of the country. The EVMT will continue to provide a platform for NECC/Cs to share different approaches to tackling these issues.

After lunch, a bike ride was organised by the Slovenian NECC with the support of a guide throughout Ljubljana. A networking dinner also took place afterwards, the perfect occasion to share more ideas on best practices and cycling tourism in general in a less formal environment.

The meeting was kindly supported by the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure.

Previous meetings took place in Barcelona (2021), Dublin (2020), Limbourg (2018) and Arnhem (2017).

For more information, contact Marta Orihuel at m.orihuel@ecf.com.