Representatives from local and regional government are meeting in Brussels this week to discuss working together to boost European competitiveness, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.
The event brings together 6 000 elected representatives from around 240 regions and cites. This year, participants are focussing on the role of regions and cities in delivering Europe 2020, the EU’s plan for economic growth and job creation.
Another hot topic for civic and regional leaders will be Europe’s less affluent regions – and how they might catch up with help from EU funding programmes designed to assist them. The programmes provide support for infrastructure projects, such as upgrading public transport, and for job training and education, especially in the newer members of the EU.
This week will also see the launch of RegioNetwork 2020, an online forum to help cities and regions cooperate and share information.
The meetings in Brussels mark the highpoint of the European Open Days 2010, which feature some 260 local events – conferences, cultural events, fairs and exhibitions – taking place across Europe between September and November.
For example, Grenoble, France, is holding a seminar on 16 October to review the public’s comments on its future urban transport plan. The seminar aims to highlight some of the best examples of urban transport practices from around Europe to help spur debate.
In Gloucester, UK, a workshop on 19 October will give local businesses an insight into saving energy and the latest environmental technologies. Speakers will also talk about EU-funded initiatives on energy efficiency.
The Open Days in Brussels are organised by the Commission and the Committee of the Regions, the EU body that gives regional and local governments a say about the bloc’s policies.