Open Days 2009
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Stories of the Day: 8 October

Making it happen across borders
Interregional, transnational and cross-border co-operation sounds like a good idea, but there could be some difficulties when it comes to making it happen.

Interregional, transnational and cross-border co-operation sounds like a good idea, but there could be some difficulties when it comes to making it happen. There are a number of benefits that regional and local actors can enjoy. The European Grouping for Territorial Co-operation (EGTC) can contribute to stronger competitiveness and enhanced cohesion that co-operating regions can gain through this new instrument that provides a legal frame for working together.

"A lot has already been achieved regarding EGTC, but more needs to be done", Michael Schneider, President of the Committee of the Regions Commission dealing with territorial cohesion told participants of the Open Days workshop 'The added value of EGTC and possible solutions to critical points'.

First Vice President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) Michel Delebarre underlined in his intervention that "there is still a huge unlocked potential for EGTCs, in particular as living labs for multi-level governance, despite a reduced number of EGTCs (8) effectively set up since August 2007. The CoR should look into three key areas, such as the participation of third countries, the status of staff employed by EGTCs and the participation of private bodies carrying out public service obligations, when it drafts its 2nd opinion on EGTC in 2010".

"The Barca report sends encouraging signals for the further development of EGTCs but the request for more conditionality within territorial cooperation should not end up in a top down-approach", he added.

The Committee of the Regions is keen to encourage this form of co-operation and made its experts available at the European Week of Regions and Cities to explain the practicalities of setting up an EGTC and explore the opportunities that can come with it.
               
EGTC website


Get greened by your local bank
Co-operative banks have been doing pioneering work to tackle environmental issues and can be a driving force for change to a more sustainable economy

 
Based on its strong local roots, co-operative banks have been doing pioneering work to tackle environmental issues. There are already a number of financial products and services dedicated to eco-innovation, some of which were presented to participants of a workshop organised by the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB)  on the European Week of Regions and Cities. “It is in the DNA of co-operative banks to be more ‘green’ than other kind of banks”, Bart Jan Krouwel, Chairman of the Working Group on corporate social responsibility of the EACB said. It was also highlighted that co-operative banks can be a driving force for change to a more sustainable economy and can have a real impact on environmental challenges, in particular climate change.

Presentations of the workshop


Rebranding the Eternal City could be an example for others
Stimulating tourism can bring a lot of benefits but it also costs money. What is Rome's solution to the problem?

Can Rome's example of innovative tourism development be copied by others? This was just what participants could find out at an Open Days workshop organised by HAL9000. With public-private partnership, Rome is investing into a €7 billion masterplan of infrastructure and tourist attractions including the expansion of Fiumicino airport and Ostia waterfront, a new railway, the ancient Rome and Cinecitta thematic parks, a Formula 1 urban circuit, a unique exhibition centre of Ferrari SpA, a new aquarium and the "Nuvola" convention center by renowned architect Massimiliano Fuksas and a branding campaign by Franco Zeffirelli. "The Second Tourism Pole is an historical opportunity for the capital of Italy", Deputy Mayor of Rome, sen. Mauro Cutrufo told participants, "In fact, the 23 initiatives of the master plan will totally change the shape of the capital of Italy" he added. It has been suggested that this prototype partnership could be used as an example to stimulate tourism and urban development in other EU cities and regions as well.

Article on the Second Tourism Pole
Official website of the City of Rome


The magic of the OPEN DAYS… - Performance Mr Jorge Luengo, Magician
(Berlaymont esplanade, 13:00-13:40)

Jorge Luengo, a young and renowned magician from the Spanish south-western region of Extremadura, is an expert on new forms of communication. He experiments with marketing and communication in a different way, using magic games and tricks. Winner of several prizes, he recently won a major prize at the FISM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS OF MAGIC 2009 in China, for the category 'invention'.


CoR supports regions to fight climate change
The new Climate Change Platform will help the exchange of good practices

A new Climate Change Platform has been launched by the Committee of the Regions in cooperation with the Covenant of Mayors for regions and cities to help achieving sustainable energy targets through enhanced energy efficiency and cleaner energy production and use. The importance of regions and cities pursuing these goals together was stressed at an Open Days workshop.
As an example for concrete measures, Roland Zilkernagel (City of Malmö, SE) said that Malmö had set two objectives: (1) in 2020 all the administrations' own activities will be climate-neutral, (2) in 2030 the whole city will use 100% renewable energy.
Pedro Ballesteros (European Commission) stressed the importance of the cooperation between the Lisbon Monitoring Platform and the Covenant of Mayors in the launch of the new Climate Change Platform of EU cities and regions, to support exchange of good practices, monitor developments on the ground and convey the concern of regional and local authorities to the EU institutions.
As a contribution to the diffusion of best practices, the CoR also presented the project of a guide for local and regional authorities on the use of information and communication technology for energy efficiency.

Climate Change Platform webpage


“Sustainable Innovation: Creating Value from the shift to a low carbon economy” - Ashridge Sustainable Innovation Award
(Berlaymont esplanade, 13:40-14:10)

Ashridge Business School, in association with the European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS) and with the support of HP and WWF, are running an essay competition to find the best ideas from management and other post-graduate students about how organisations can innovate to create value from the shift to a low carbon economy. The three students who provide the best submissions as judged by a distinguished panel will be awarded with a cash prize and career advice from representatives of Spencer Stuart, the global executive search consultants. The winner will also receive a mentorship with HP. The partnering organizations will announce the shortlisted essays at the OPEN DAYS on 8 October. More information about the Ashridge Sustainable Innovation Award and all partners is available at the stand in the tent or at www.ashridge.org.uk/SustainableInnovation.


Come and celebrate Carnival! - Luton Carnival of Arts performance
(Berlaymont esplanade, on 8 October at 12:30-13:00)

The UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) is the home for all things carnival including: carnival music, movement and costume construction. It also forms a hub for community learning, enterprise and performance through an exciting programme of activities including workshops, seminars, exhibitions and performances.
The UKCCA is housed in a brand new, state of the art building in Luton (30 miles north of London).  The Centre and its activities has been a recipient of ERDF, ESF and EU Culture programme funding
UKCCA is making 3 performances on the Berlaymont esplanade featuring 10 steel pan players from the Revellers Steel Band based in Luton, dancers from Rampage Carnival Club. The Luton group will be joined on stage by representatives from our two European partners based in Denmark and Germany; these will include two traditional African djembe drummers from Aalborg and two amazing stilt walkers from Hamburg.
The whole ensemble will bring together an exciting and colourful fusion of carnival arts demonstrating the powers of collaboration across European borders.
On the UKCCA’s stand at the event Colin Spalding, a leading UK carnival artist who has produced the spectacular costumes being featured in the performances, will be demonstrating carnival costume making skills. He will be embellishing with beads, feathers and braid a stunning carnival queen costume that is in the decoration stage of construction.

Stories of the Day: 7 October

Microcredit – great challenge and promising chance
Presentations on different aspects of microcredit showed what has already been put successfully in place in order to reach the targets

Microcredits can deliver significant results in stimulating economies, developing regions, creating jobs and in combating financial exclusion. The promotion of micro enterprises was shown as being a core issue in the discussion on microcredit.
The presentations on different aspects of microcredit showed what has already been put successfully in place in order to reach the targets. The importance on further developing the file of microcredit has been outlined at a workshop organised by the European Association of Public Banks.
Panelists and participants shared their current views and reflections for the future.
On this occasion, the European Investment Bank (EIB) also explained the latest developments concerning microcredit within the EIB Group and the European Commission pointed out the developments around JASMINE, the Joint Action to Support Micro-Finance Institutions in Europe.


Come and celebrate Carnival! - Luton Carnival of Arts performance
(Berlaymont esplanade, 12:45-13:15 and 13:30-13:45; also on 8 October at 12:30-13:00)

The UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) is the home for all things carnival including: carnival music, movement and costume construction. It also forms a hub for community learning, enterprise and performance through an exciting programme of activities including workshops, seminars, exhibitions and performances.
The UKCCA is housed in a brand new, state of the art building in Luton (30 miles north of London).  The Centre and its activities has been a recipient of ERDF, ESF and EU Culture programme funding
UKCCA is making 3 performances on the Berlaymont esplanade featuring 10 steel pan players from the Revellers Steel Band based in Luton, dancers from Rampage Carnival Club. The Luton group will be joined on stage by representatives from our two European partners based in Denmark and Germany; these will include two traditional African djembe drummers from Aalborg and two amazing stilt walkers from Hamburg.
The whole ensemble will bring together an exciting and colourful fusion of carnival arts demonstrating the powers of collaboration across European borders.
On the UKCCA’s stand at the event Colin Spalding, a leading UK carnival artist who has produced the spectacular costumes being featured in the performances, will be demonstrating carnival costume making skills. He will be embellishing with beads, feathers and braid a stunning carnival queen costume that is in the decoration stage of construction.


Music from Valencia -THE BOTET’S BAND - Secondary School “José Rodrigo Botet” (Berlaymont esplanade, 13:45-14:30)

27 Valencian young students from the secondary school José Rodrigo Botet in Manises form the Botet's band. This concert will demonstrate the educational and musical efforts put into this project by the teachers Julio Martínez and Eugenio Enriques. The band has already performed in several concerts and national and international events, such as the 2nd International Seminar of Musical Research of the Complutense University of Madrid (SICIEM, 2005), the Congress Institute of Educational Sciences of Barcelona: “New models of learning” (2006) and the XXVIII World Congress of Bologna, Italy (ISME, 2008). All these efforts have been rewarded with the Educational Innovation Award by the Consellería d'Educació of the Comunitat Valenciana.

Stories of the Day: 6 October

Post-Lisbon strategy should be more balanced
Regions and cities ask for greater involvement in shaping the EU's next growth and jobs strategy

EU policy makers should work out a more balanced approach to stimulate the economy as a follow up to the Lisbon Strategy, which is set to expire in 2010. At a debate during the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, regional leaders called for taking into account economic, social and environmental needs when decision is made about the future European policy to stimulate growth and job creation. Regions and cities expressed similar views in a consultation aimed at working out the future of the Lisbon strategy. Regions and cities also ask to be involved in a permanent way in the design and implementation of the new strategy.

Committee of the Regions' Lisbon Strategy website


How to make a building green?  
A lot can be done in reducing greenhouse gas emissions just by improving the energy use of buildings

Minimising the environmental impact of buildings, together with the building performance and the reduction of energy costs could make a key contribution to the overall aim of mitigating climate change.
“Most actions to reduce energy consumption in a building will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Siemens Building Technologies Division has completed more than 1,500 energy efficiency projects worldwide over the past ten years and helped customers achieve close to EUR 2 billion in energy savings. That is the equivalent reduction of 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 or 6 billion kilometers driven”, Gunnar Liehr told participants at an Open Days workshop organized by Siemens on environmentally friendly buildings.
Speakers also highlighted that cities account for a disproportionate share of greenhouse gas emissions but there are opportunities, especially in the public sector, to lower energy costs.

SIEMENS website - SIEMENS' energy efficiency website


Baltic Sea Strategy takes centre stage

Promoting better cooperation on issues which touch regions across Europe is central not just to OPEN DAYS but also in EU Cohesion Policy. Discussions on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region are thus at the heart of the OPEN DAYS programme, most notably with a Baltic Sea Press Panel on Tuesday 6 October. Several high-profile politicians from Baltic region including the Swedish and Finnish Ministers for European Affairs, Cecilia Malmström and Astrid Thors, will take part.

Adopted by the European Commission in June, the Strategy - the first of its kind - sets out to reduce pollution and boost prosperity in the Baltic Sea region. One of the main priorities of the Swedish EU presidency, it presents a new way of working together to enable all the countries involved, regional and local authorities, pan-Baltic organisations, financing institutions and NGOs to carry out actions focused on shared ambitions. It is an approach which is being closely followed in other parts of Europe such the Danube. Projects under the Strategy will contribute to improving the environment, upgrading transport and energy networks, promoting innovation in small and medium-sized businesses, and improving emergency response at sea and on land.


Visit our partners' stands at the Charlemagne!

Want to find out how the European Social Fund (ESF) works to reduce differences in prosperity and living standards across EU Member States and regions?

Have you ever heard of a programme that provides training and other tools to programme managers in order to improve their management?

Do you know how EU regions can work together on themes around innovation and the environment?

Do you want to meet other actors at local and regional level to exchange experience and to facilitate learning on urban policy themes?

Are you interested in regional development policy and research?

Then visit our partners' stands at the first floor of the Charlemagne building from 6 to 8 October:


Enjoy the concert by "Orquestra Geração"!
(Berlaymont esplanade, 13:30-14:30)

The "Orquestra Geração", a group of enthusiastic young artists, has come all the way from Lisbon to perform in Brussels, in the framework of OPEN DAYS, the European Week of Regions and Cities.

The project Generation Orchestra, "Orquestra Geração" in Portuguese, is made up of a group of youngsters from deprived urban areas, which formed a young orchestra with the help of the City of Amadora, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, National Conservatory's School of Music and other partners. The aim is to involve the kids and youngsters under risk of exclusion and enhance their social and intellectual capacities for the rest of their lives.
This pilot project has been co-funded by the Equal initiative, which supports actions in favour of employment and social inclusion.

Come and enjoy this unique concert!


Photo Exhibition "Balticness" – The Baltic Sea Region through the eyes of young artists
(OPEN DAYS Tent – Berlaymont, rue Archimède)

The photo exhibition: "Where the Baltic Sea and People Meet." features the work of 24 authors and 40 photographic works, which accent the significance of the Baltic Sea as a unifying element in the region. The authors of the photographs are young people aged between 18 and 30, and represent all the Baltic Sea States. The young people, looking at the Baltic Sea through the eye of the camera, have created its mirror image, and diversity, in which may be discerned a sense of humour, creativity, respect towards the surrounding environment, energy and the fulfilment of dreams.

The Baltic Sea region is at the "top end" of Europe, geographically, economically and symbolically. It is an environment of common values and objectives. Balticness reflects the Baltic Sea as the artery of life of the entire region and its society, and the countries of the region as competitive, creative, dynamic, multicultural states populated by professional, skilful and candid people.

The exhibition is organised by the Riga EU Office and will be displayed at the OPEN DAYS Tent (next to the Berlaymont building, Rue Archimède)

Stories of the Day: 5 October

OPEN DAYS kicks-off !

As is now an annual tradition in early October, Brussels once again plays host to the headline event in the regional policy calendar: OPEN DAYS – the European Week of Cities and Regions. Under the overall heading of “Global challenges, European responses”, more than 120 seminars are organised around four themes: restoring growth; regions and climate change; working across borders; and, evaluation and future prospects for European Cohesion Policy.

OPEN DAYS kicks off today with an opening session in the Parliament's Hemicycle, attended by President Barroso and Swedish Deputy Prime Minister, Maud Olofsson. By the closing session in the Charlemagne building on Thursday 8th October, a staggering total of some 7 000 participants will have taken part in a host of sessions covering a whole range of regional policy issues. The Committee of the Regions and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional Policy are behind the whole operation. More than 250 event partners have joined forces, of which 213 regions from across Europe. In addition to the Brussels events, around 230 local events organised by partner regions and cities will take place under the OPEN DAYS banner.

Press Release


OPEN DAYS University - bringing together practitioners and the academic community

With interest from the academic world in the OPEN DAYS growing year-on-year, one significant development for 2009 has been the introduction of the 'OPEN DAYS University'. Designed to get the academic community more involved, this will include a series of lectures and moderated panels with over 50 renowned academics. The Regional Studies Association has been actively involved in the organisation of the OPEN DAYS University sessions, which should offer a valuable opportunity to debate the challenges facing European regions.

OPEN DAYS University


Creativity and Innovation at the heart of the OPEN DAYS programme!

2009 is the European Year of Creativity and Innovation and, as one of the main four themes of the OPEN DAYS, 'Innovation in Europe's regions and cities' is once again centre of the 2009 agenda. Creating an environment that encourages research, development and innovation is of the highest priority for European regions. Learning from good practice elsewhere in Europe and how to maximise EU funding available will be at the forefront of the OPEN DAYS discussions.

A series of seminars and events will demonstrate hands-on the benefits of working in partnership with hundreds of regions from across the EU, all keen to share ideas and chart new and innovative ways of harnessing European investment. And it is a sizeable investment – of the €347 billion worth of funds allocated to EU Cohesion Policy, some €86 billion of that is specifically targeted on innovation-related activities.

The esplanade in front of the Commission's HQ Berlaymont building will host the OPEN DAYS tent, where the European Year of Creativity and Innovation will be celebrated with a programme of local music and arts projects on Thursday 8 October.


The esplanade at the Commission Berlaymont HQ comes alive to the sound of music!

As well as the host of seminars and workshops on offer during the OPEN DAYS, a first-class entertainment line-up has also been announced. A variety of musical performances from groups across Europe which have been supported by EU funds, will be taking place on the stage in front of the European Commission HQ at the Berlaymont building over the course of the four days.

On Tuesday 6 October, the "Orquestra Geracao", a youth orchestra from Lisbon, Portugal will provide the musical backdrop, The Luton Carnival of Arts (UK) takes to the stage on Wednesday 7 October. They will highlight the diversity and creativity of Carnival Arts through a performance which will include steel pan music and sounds of afro-Brazilian samba with samba drummers from Germany, Denmark and the UK. This will be followed by more music from a high school band "The Botet's Band' from Manises, Valencia in Spain - a musical group which grown out of a "music for all" initiative and now performs internationally.

Tent programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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