OPEN DAYS 2012: Securing EU regional policy as Europe's growth fund
The biggest annual event in the world of regional and urban policy marks its 10th anniversary at a critical time. Talks on the EU budget are entering their final, crucial phase and major reforms of how the structural funds operate are on the table. More than 6,000 regional representatives from around Europe will join the call for a strong Regional Policy with a budget to match.
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, will open four days of debate and discussion. Hosting the event, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Ramón Luis Valcárcel, President of the Committee of the Regions, will participate in a high level panel debate on the central role of EU Cohesion Policy in investing in Europe's economic recovery, and realising the Europe 2020 goals.
Commissioner Hahn commented: "OPEN DAYS 2012 comes at a key moment for our policy's future. Our regional partners have the chance to make their voices heard in this decisive period. The Commission has put its proposal on the table and is determined to defend it. We have an ideal tool at our disposal to tackle the crisis and we are committed to helping each and every EU region do that. But we need a realistic budget so that EU funds can continue to work for growth, and most of all to create jobs - and hope."
Committee of the Regions' President Valcárcel added: "There is no exit from the crisis, nor economic recovery without a strong cohesion policy, conceived for all EU regions. In such a delicate phase of the EU budget negotiations, the Open Days will help make this clear by displaying concrete examples of how regions and cities are supporting sustainable growth through structural funds. For the Committee of the Regions, this is also a chance of making visible and accessible the outcome of its intense networking and monitoring activities, aimed at improving the delivering of the Europe 2020 objectives."
Open Days will show how EU Regional Policy is delivering:
- By redirecting funds where they are most needed (estimates show EU investment has provided access to finance for at least 56,000 SMEs)
- Combined with the Barroso Initiative it has helped 460,000 young people into programmes to combat unemployment
- 450,000 jobs have been created by enterprises supported by EU structural funds since 2007
Open Days will help define the policy for the future: Regional policy representatives will take part in more than 100 seminars and workshops – under the banner of "Europe's Regions and Cities: Making a Difference". The focus will be on key priorities for the next funding period 2014-2020:
- Smart and green growth for all, promoting innovation/research and development
- Support for SME's
- Territorial cooperation
- Delivering and measuring results for a more effective and strategic policy
- Highlights of the programme
- President of the Committee of the Regions, Ramon Luis Valcárcel, and Commissioner Johannes Hahn: Panel discussion on October 8 at 14.30h.
- Commissioner Johannes Hahn at open press roundtable "Securing Regional Policy as The Investment Arm of the EU Budget" on October 9 from 08.30h to 09.30h (Schuman room, Berlaymont)
- Commission Vice-President Joaquin Almunia, responsible for Competition, and Commissioner Johannes Hahn will hold a high level debate Competition, State Aid and Regional Development: Albert Borchette Centre, Thursday, October 11 at 10.00h, Room 0A
- 2013 RegioStars Awards: 27 projects competing in five categories highlight the excellent and innovative work being done on the ground presented by Commissioner Hahn at the Committee of the Regions on October 9 at 16.00h.
Experts from across Europe will hold lectures and seminars at the OPEN DAYS University.
"Community-led local development" (CLLD) will be centre stage during this year’s "Meeting Place" hosted at the Committee of the Regions, with 16 workshops looking at this new feature in urban/local development in the post-2013 period. Exhibition also with 10 artists depicting 10 years of OPEN DAYS, and on INTERREG IVC - the programme financed through the European Regional Development Fund.
Alongside the Brussels seminars, over 350 events branded "Europe in my region/city" are planned between September and November in all 27 EU member states, and 11 other countries including Bosnia‑Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.