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About OPEN DAYS 2007

OPEN DAYS 2007 - Making it happen: Regions and Cities deliver Growth and Jobs

Michel Delebarre
President of the Committee of the Regions

Since the OPEN DAYS were first introduced in 2003, they have proven to be a unique platform in Europe for communication, discussion and networking among regions and players in the field of regional and cohesion policy. In 2007, the 212 participating regions and cities will strive to show how effective this policy is and to highlight its key role within the Lisbon Agenda. The title of the fifth OPEN DAYS event reflects this ambitious challenge: ‘Making it happen’. Let’s make sure that the regions and cities reach their targets for growth and job creation – the yardsticks for prosperity and quality of life in our Member States. ‘Let’s make it happen’ in regions that are not only more competitive but more supportive, where opportunities for action are created for the public authorities and private sector alike. ‘Let’s make it happen’ in our regions and our cities, the wellsprings of talent and resources, which, since the structural funds were established for 2007-2013, have launched 450 new projects for economic development and social cohesion. The OPEN DAYS provide these regions and cities with a real showcase for their know-how and creative intelligence and build networks based on their remarkable successes. Once again, this year’s OPEN DAYS will feature the Investors’ Café where businesses, banks, local and regional authorities and European institutions can meet and compare approaches and create new partnerships based on common economic projects. The Committee of the Regions, alongside the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional Policy and other EU institutions, is clearly fulfilling its role, giving this year’s 5 000 expected participants from 33 countries an exceptional opportunity to share their success stories and contributions to a competitive and supportive European Union.

 

Danuta Hübner
Member of the European Commission responsible for Regional Policy

2007 is the year of delivery for EU cohesion policy. We will put in place more than 450 national, regional and cross-border programmes for the period 2007-2013 with a total investment of about EUR 500 billion of public and private funding. In May the Commission issued the 4th Report on Economic and Social Cohesion to provide a thorough insight into the current situation and the progress made towards achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion in the regions of the European Union. It also investigates the new challenges for regional development in the years ahead. The Report shows clearly that all regions are confronted with the need to restructure, modernise and foster continuous knowledge-based innovation in order to meet the challenge of globalisation. This analysis is essential, since it has become obvious in recent years that regional development and convergence is best driven through multi-level governance, through the co-ordinated actions of the Union, the Member States and local and regional authorities. As in previous years, the OPEN DAYS 2007 will bring together all EU, national, regional and local experts to discuss regional development issues, to come up with new ideas and to cross-check whether future regional policy delivery can be enhanced and how. I look forward to this extremely interesting and inspiring opportunity to meet with regional policy experts, practitioners and scholars and to exchange our views and thoughts. This year, the OPEN DAYS 2007 will feature an even greater international dimension of regional policy, as representatives from countries such as China, Russia and Brazil will be present and will put forward their approach towards enhanced regional convergence and competitiveness. In other words – the OPEN DAYS 2007 is an event you cannot miss!

 

Hans-Gert Pöttering
President of the European Parliament

Members of the European Parliament are the link between the EU’s institutions and citizens. Each and every MEP has their home in a European region, and it is only natural that they build strong partnerships with the local and regional authorities in their home region. Together they are better able to develop understanding amongst citizens of the benefits of European Union, and help more citizens take advantage of the fruits of EU action. No EU initiative is more important than the growth and jobs strategy, which promises to improve the lives of each and every citizen. But this can only happen if we all work together towards our common goal. With this in mind, the European Parliament strongly supports the aims of the OPEN DAYS initiative, and looks forward to a fine opportunity to develop further links amongst the democratically elected representatives of Europe’s citizens at all levels.
 

José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa
Prime Minister of Portugal, on behalf of the EU Presidency

2007 marks the beginning of a new Structural Funds programme period, in which the EU’s regional policy reinforces its focus on Lisbon goals. Regions and cities are now fully recognised as fundamental governance levels to create growth and jobs at the European level. An ever more competitive Europe must rely on dynamic and attractive territories fully engaged in the global economy. Attracting investment, fuelling innovation, qualifying the human capital, those are the challenges that regional development policies must meet in the years to come. OPEN DAYS is the major European gathering of regional policy experts, decision-makers and stakeholders. This event’s growing success is proof of regions and cities’ eagerness to meet, co-operate, create networks and exchange best practices, thus driving European efforts to modernise our societies and our economies. As the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Portugal is pleased to contribute to the success of OPEN DAYS 2007. By disseminating a shared vision at the dawn of a new programme period, this event has the potential to be a decisive impulse for regional development in Europe.

 

José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission

I’m delighted that the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission are teaming up once again to host the OPEN DAYS. The fact that so many of you want to be part of this festival of the regions shows the importance of this initiative. It is an event that successfully brings together nearly 5,000 participants, representing 212 regions and cities in 33 countries, as well as stakeholders from the business and banking sectors, NGOs and European associations. This event epitomises the Europe of results that we are building together. The basis of European integration is regional solidarity based on economic and social cohesion. Our economic, political and social plans for 2007-2013 are ambitious. Regional and local authorities will benefit from funding amounting to 35% of the EU budget, or 500 billion € including private money. To turn these figures into achievements, concrete projects are needed to transform the regions and cities into a modern economic and social space, to stimulate local initiatives that will attract investors and create growth and employment. It is you who will have to do much of the day-to-day work on this. One of the great strengths of Europe’s regions and cities is their ability to interact with one another through exchanges of experience and ideas – as the massive response to the OPEN DAYS demonstrates. The spirit of multinational, multilingual and multicultural dialogue that accompanies your discussions proves that a real Europe is being created through your actions, enriched by dynamism and enthusiasm. I very much appreciate the themes you have chosen for the agenda of your seminars because we share the same priorities – energy, transport, environment, innovation and research. Focusing on these issues helps bring the EU closer to citizens. It is my conviction that the regional and local authorities have a vital role to play to increase the confidence of citizens in Europe. We can reach this objective through concrete results and through providing solutions. The slogan of this year’s OPEN DAYS – Making it happen: regions and cities deliver jobs and growth – says it all. I hope the event is a great success.

 

Margot Wallström
Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy

Europe’s regions, cities and local authorities are the building blocks of the Union. Thousands and thousands of EU-supported projects and initiatives over the years have brought real benefits to citizens in every corner of the EU, and these OPEN DAYS offer a valuable opportunity to demonstrate how regional authorities are making effective and imaginative use of EU support to help their citizens. And I am especially pleased to welcome the wealth of local events in support of the OPEN DAYS programme throughout the month, building on the experiences of last year’s events. Effective communication requires going beyond the Brussels beltway and engaging with people on the issues that concern them. These local events are a valuable added dimension to the OPEN DAYS.
 

Günter Verheugen
Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry

Competitiveness is vital for Europe’s businesses and citizens. All our efforts in the Enterprise and Industry DG are aimed squarely at creating the conditions in which all citizens can benefit from dynamic companies creating prosperity, high quality jobs and helping us to tackle the challenges of our age. Regional and local authorities, along with national governments, must all play their part in improving the environment in which European enterprise operates. We need to cut red tape, to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and stimulate investment in nascent businesses. All small firms and entrepreneurs need a home base, and the actions of regional authorities are fundamental in creating attractive conditions for enterprises. These OPEN DAYS will allow regions to demonstrate their successes to each other and enable them to learn from each other’s experiences in supporting and stimulating enterprise and job creation.

 

Jacques Barrot
Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Transport

Transport networks are a vital part of the fabric of any region. Large or small, Europe’s regions need efficient, cost-effective, environmentally friendly and appropriate transport infrastructure. Our single market depends on the efficiency with which goods can be transported, and the competitiveness of our enterprises also requires that their workforces can travel to and from work as easily as possible. We are working to give public authorities, private enterprise and transport operators fair conditions in which transport services can be organised and used. We are also seeking to minimise the disparities and disadvantages faced by peripheral and rural regions, and enable the least developed regions to develop better transport infrastructure. Investment is the key to successfully implementing transport projects, and the OPEN DAYS will provide the opportunity for regional authorities to learn about investment models which have delivered transport improvements elsewhere.
 

Vladimír Špidla
Member of the European Commission responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

People are Europe’s greatest resource, and we must enable more of our fellow citizens to contribute effectively to our economy. The European Social Fund – 50 years old this year – is the Union’s key resource for helping our citizens acquire the skills to play an active role in today’s and tomorrow’s enterprises. Only by renewing skills can Europe’s workers help their enterprises to compete in the global marketplace. At the same time the European Social Fund makes a major contribution to the promotion of social cohesion throughout the Union, by enhancing job opportunities for all of our citizens. The ESF must be used effectively if our citizens are to derive maximum benefit from it, and the OPEN DAYS will enable local and regional authorities to see the wealth of initiatives it has supported and seek ideas for their own programme.

 

 

Joe Borg
Member of the European Commission responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs

Over the past year, we have carried out a broad consultation on a future maritime policy for the European Union. Coastal regions and the various industries that depend on the seas and oceans make a considerable contribution to Europe’s economy and to the welfare of its citizens. Our main aim remains to develop an integrated approach that will provide a sustainable development of these activities, unleash the untapped potential from sea resources and promote synergies between the different relevant sectors. Particular attention will also be paid to the mitigation of the effect of climate change with, among others, the development of sea-based renewable energy and the prediction and mitigation of coastal erosion. Maritime regions and industries have much in common, and by working together, we can make a stronger contribution, anchoring Europe in the global market and enabling our maritime industries to create new, better jobs. During the OPEN DAYS we will present the broad lines of the EU’s new maritime policies, while Europe’s maritime regions will have the chance to share their ideas and experiences with each other.

 

Janez Potočnik
Member of the European Commission responsible for Science and Research

Research is Europe’s passport to a successful future, but only if we maximise the benefit we take out of research results, through innovation. The connections we need to do that start within regions, linking universities and research organisations with local enterprises. The Seventh Research Framework Programme, which started this year, will enable us to work more closely with the Structural Funds, to build on the research strengths of individual regions, and create the basis for developing knowledge more effectively. Every region, even the least developed, has strengths on which it can build, and at the heart of the knowledge economy is the ability to recognise and develop those strengths. OPEN DAYS gives us the opportunity to look at how individual regions are building on their own attributes to play their part in that knowledge economy.

 

Ján Figel’
Member of the European Commission responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth

Our future in a global economy depends in large part on the quality of our education and training systems, on our creativity, and on our capacity for innovation. Education and training are crucial for economic growth and, therefore, for creating both more and better quality jobs. There is a strong economic case for investing better and more in education and training. But the impact of education and training is not limited to the growth of Europe’s GDP or a falling unemployment rate. The education and training is also vital for personal development and fulfilment, for greater social inclusion and active citizenship. Our learning systems are essential to give everyone living in Europe the opportunity of participating in and of contributing in full to our societies. We are born as human beings, but we have to become citizens, personalities. Regions and local authorities are key players in the delivery of education and training, and so these OPEN DAYS offer them the opportunity to learn about new ideas and initiatives.

 

Markos Kyprianou
Member of the European Commission responsible for Health

Health is vital not only for citizens, but for society as a whole. Good health remains one of the priorities not only of the European Commission, but also of regional and local authorities, who are at the forefront when it comes to policies in public health, food safety and animal health. The Commission’s role in this area is to ensure that proper consideration is attached to health policy at all levels of European government, with the aim of striving for the best possible protection for citizens. With regional authorities, we want to ensure you have the tools to do the best for your citizens, and these OPEN DAYS provide you with the opportunity to find out about the latest initiatives in the field, and to talk directly to Commission officials working in the field.

 

Mariann Fischer Boel
Member of the European Commission responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development

Europe’s rural areas – some 90% of the EU’s territory – are the basis for much of the food we eat and a substantial share of the tourism income generated in our economy, and about half of Europe’s population lives in rural areas. So, regional development policies must pay sufficient attention to the needs and specific conditions of rural areas. The Union’s growth and jobs strategy is just as relevant to rural areas as populous urban areas, and the new Rural Development Fund as well as cohesion policy instruments fully recognises this. These OPEN DAYS will enable regions from across Europe to share each other’s experiences and learn of the initiatives and tools which have contributed successfully to the development of rural areas.
 

Stavros Dimas
Member of the European Commission responsible for Environment

Environment is perhaps the greatest example of a policy area in which individual action by one region or Member State can be negated by that of the neighbours. If we are to improve all our environments, coordinated action across the Union is essential. Regional and local authorities must be at the forefront of developing and implementing environmental protection tools and policies. And for those which seize the initiative, environmental technologies can offer a huge boost to the regional economy, creating jobs and prosperity alike. Visitors to the OPEN DAYS have a unique chance to learn about each other’s environmental initiatives, and to discuss jointly with the Commission about future developments which can help us meet our ambitious environmental protection targets.

 

Andris Piebalgs
Member of the European Commission responsible for Energy

The future challenges to the European Union are great in the Energy field – climate change, security of energy supply and competitiveness. The past year has seen the Union defining the answers to these challenges. Regions and local communities will play a critical role in its development, as renewable energy sources and energy efficiency must contribute ever more to Europe’s energy mix. There are enormous opportunities open to those communities and regions willing to embrace renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, and our task is to work together at all levels so that we can meet our goals. During these OPEN DAYS regions will be able to share their ideas and experiences, and learn from each other’s existing and planned strategies for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

 

Gerardo Galeote Quecedo
Chairman, Committee on Regional Development, European Parliament

The adoption of the 2007-13 Financial Perspectives and the new legislation adapting the Structural Funds, to meet the needs of the enlarged European Union, has meant significant shifts in both priorities of cohesion policy and the way the new programming period affects the regional economies of Member States. The cohesion and solidarity principle are both an essential and strategic pillar of European integration. In this context, the EP has always stressed the role of regions and cities as key actors in the implementation of the renewed cohesion policy, trying to adapt the policy instruments to their needs and expectations in a process of bottom-up consultation and put in practice the principles of governance. So now it is up to our regions and cities to make it happen, keeping in mind that the key of the cohesion policy’s success is co-operation, allowing steady exchanges of know-how and best experiences. I strongly believe that the OPEN DAYS 2007 will build on the experiences of previous years, and will give the participants the opportunity to participate in enriching exchanges of ideas and stimulating discussion, as well as to establish durable partnerships resulting in more sustainable development for our regions and cities.
 

Dimitris Dimitriadis
President, European Economic and Social Committee

As a partner institution, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) takes great pleasure in supporting the Committee of the Regions’ excellent initiative: OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities. The two Committees not only share the architectural landmark building which is the focal point of OPEN DAYS, but also their joint vocation as institutional consultative bodies at the European level advising the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. The EESC brings together in Brussels representatives of the various economic and social components of organised civil society. Its opinions reflect a dynamic consensus between its three groups: employers, employees and various interests. As a forum for dialogue and consultation for civil society organisations across Europe, the EESC sees it as one of its primary tasks to bring the European Union closer to its citizens. The OPEN DAYS 2007 ‘Making it happen: Regions and cities deliver growth and jobs’ aim at this very target – I wish this event all success.
 

Philippe Maystadt
Chairman of the European Investment Bank

As the European Union’s financing arm, the European Investment Bank is a major player in the regions and cities of Europe. In 2006, the EIB lent some € 46 billion for key investment projects that helped implement priority EU policy objectives. High on its agenda are stimulating growth in regional development areas and supporting the Lisbon Strategy. In this context, financing infrastructure projects, environmental protection, (sustainable) energy projects, as well as SMEs, are all crucial for Europe’s future and at the heart of the EIB’s activities. As in the past, the EIB actively participates in these OPEN DAYS. Please visit the EIB’s stand, talk to the representatives, and find out what the European Investment Bank as a financial partner can do for projects in your city or region.

 

Jean Lemierre
President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

EBRD has invested more than € 14 billion in its ten countries of operations that became EU Member States since May 2004. In local and regional infrastructure, EBRD is at the forefront of innovative financing in the public and private sectors. As a founding partner of JASPERS, with the European Commission and the EIB, EBRD is continuing to support project preparation in key areas such as national and regional transport networks, PPP, environmental services, public transport and energy efficiency/renewable energy.
 

Raphaël Alomar
Council of Europe Development Bank

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has been dedicated by its statutes to social cohesion for more than 50 years. It has acquired a great deal of experience on social projects and has, since 1994, demonstrated its capacity to assist the new member countries on their way towards the European Union. Co-operation with the European Commission and other partners in Europe is a priority for CEB. For example, leveraging its experience in social housing and urban development, CEB signed, in 2006, together with the European Commission and EIB, a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding on urban renewal, which can be regarded as a first step to set up the JESSICA initiative. We are looking forward to discussing these and other subjects during the OPEN DAYS 2007.
 

Michel Pébereau
President of the European Banking Federation

I am delighted that the European Banking Federation is involved in the OPEN DAYS of the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate General. Our Federation represents almost 5 000 European banks, large and small, retail and wholesale, several international groups and many national or regional entities. All share common ethical and corporate values which make them key actors in the economic life of their communities, at cross-border, national or regional level. I hope that the FBE’s contribution to the OPEN DAYS will prove fruitful and rewarding for all participants.

 

Chris De Noose
Chairman of the Management Committee of the European Savings Bank Group

ESBG regroups savings and retail banks from 26 European countries. Our members represent one of the largest networks of retail financial services in Europe and are trustworthy and long-term partners of private clients and small and medium-sized enterprises. All our members have a strong regional focus, develop their own initiatives and work together with local authorities to stimulate local growth and jobs. I am convinced that the OPEN DAYS will provide an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and create partnerships.
 

Christopher Pleister
President of the European Association of Co-operative Banks

The European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) is the voice of co-operative banks in Europe. With 60 000 outlets and 4 500 banks, co-operative banks (which are private banks) play a major role in the European Union’s financial and economic system. They have a long tradition in serving 140 million customers, mainly consumers, SMEs, retailers and communities. Through their business model based on democracy (60 million members), transparency and proximity, co-operative banks act as one of the driving forces of local and regional development and are catalysts for economic and social cohesion in Europe. In the light of their vocation to serve collectivities through their 720 000 employees and their involvement in local economy, co-operative banks are particularly glad and honoured to support again this year the OPEN DAYS initiative and are convinced that it will be a renewed success.

 

János Erös
President of the managing board of the European Association of Public Banks

The European Association of Public Banks (EAPB) represents financial institutions, public banks, funding agencies, associations of public banks and banks with similar interests, and their specific tasks at the European level. EAPB members constitute an essential part of the European financial sector, in which they play a decisive role, with a market share of approximately 15%. As the EAPB, on behalf of its members, is engaged in stimulating economic and social development, the EAPB supports the OPEN DAYS and is happy to actively take part in the thematic village ‘Financial Engineering and Business Support’.

 

Ernest-Antoine Seillière
President of BUSINESSEUROPE

BUSINESSEUROPE advocates a competitive business environment as a means to achieve the central challenge for the EU: more growth and jobs. This objective has been embraced in the new cohesion policy and now all actors involved have to make the best of the available funds. Companies are ready to set up public-private partnerships with local and regional authorities to contribute actively to enhance innovation and create jobs. The OPEN DAYS initiative offers an excellent opportunity for public and private investors to meet and find the best solutions for regional development.

 

Pierre Simon
President of Eurochambres, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry

The Leitmotiv of this year’s OPEN DAYS ‘Making it happen: Regions and Cities deliver growth and jobs’ corresponds very well to the Chambers’ perspective, as it is at regional and local level that positive actions are implemented. As natural business partners of the regions, chambers are in the position to implement concrete actions for the benefit of their business members. The European Chamber Manifesto, which has been endorsed by all European chambers, highlights positive actions on the ground in key fields of economic development such as entrepreneurship, training, innovation and internationalisation.

 

Georg Toifl
President of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME)

Even if the economy is into globalisation, business is still local. Production, services, consumption and jobs are where producers, clients and consumers are, and that is the local level. While keeping the global picture in mind we must never underestimate the power and importance of local and regional business for stabilising European society. Local business is mainly about SMEs. So let’s keep the backbone of the European economy sound for Europe and its regions, its economy and its people. The OPEN DAYS contribute to that task which we support wholeheartedly.

 

Mario Monti
Chairman of the European Citizen Action Service

The Civil Society Forum – the three-way catalyst for ‘Checking Delivery’ – a series of three workshops organised in the framework of the OPEN DAYS 2007 will explore the potential of an alliance between public authorities, the third sector and academics to make partnership in EU cohesion policy work. This Forum provides an opportunity for assessing the EU cohesion policy, the new partnership principle and the first phases of the implementation of the Structural Funds in the current programming period, considering in particular the contribution from the civil society sector to their effective operation and the synergies among the actors involved. The workshops will examine the main stages of Structural Funds operations (i.e. strategy setting, implementation and evaluation), the functioning of partnership and the three-way catalyst synergies at each stage.

 

Jacques Attali
President of PlaNet Finance

As an international non-profit organisation which aims to alleviate poverty worldwide through the development of microfinance, PlaNet Finance is delighted to be associated with OPEN DAYS 2007. PlaNet Finance contributes to economic growth and employment in the regions, especially through its active European network. In particular, PlaNet Finance France is leading the fight against unemployment in the disadvantaged French urban areas through several projects, which help micro-entrepreneurs set-up income-generating activities (‘Entreprendre en Banlieue’ programme – ‘start-up in the suburbs’, and the solidarity venture capital company ‘FinanCités’). These programmes will be developed throughout all of Europe. It is my hope that OPEN DAYS 2007 will actively contribute to strengthening ties and sharing good practice experience, fostering economic development and poverty alleviation in Europe.

 

Pierre Guénant
Co-Chairman of Europe+/
President of La Baule WIC and Chairman of PGA Group

Patrick Gounelle
Co-Chairman of Europe+/
CEO of Ernst & Young for France and Southern Europe

Europe+ Foundation is an independent network promoting European attractiveness and competitiveness. Since 2003 it has organised the La Baule World Investment Conference, a platform for exchanging best practices and designing concrete proposals in respect of the Lisbon Agenda. Supported by the Commission and Parliament, Europe+ forms partnerships with public and private institutions, and works closely on innovation drivers with businesses, universities, political leaders, researchers, experts and journalists. Each year, Europe+ organises the European attractiveness awards, in partnership with EURADA, to honour best practices in promotion to attract FDI as well as awards for the best investments in Europe.

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Presentations and Abstracs
Promotional clip OPEN DAYS 2007
Cohesion Instruments 2007-2013 in your Country and Region
Public consultation on Cohesion Policy
Regulations 2007-2013
Lisbon Monitoring Platform
EGTC - GECT
Guidelines on cohesion
Cooperation with Financial Institutions
Cohesion Policy and cities
Regions for change

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