Open Days 2009
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Welcome addresses

Paweł Samecki
Member of the European Commission responsible for Regional Policy

The OPEN DAYS - European Week of Cities and Regions has become the leading event in the regional policy calendar. For 4 days, more than 7000 participants will meet in Brussels to discuss a whole range of issues relevant to the implementation of European Union cohesion policy. This huge interest proves that the OPEN DAYS meet a real and growing need and that our policy remains at the heart of efforts to lay down the foundations for growth and competitiveness. 

The 2009 edition of the OPEN DAYS are taking place in a world full of changes. It is not by chance that this year's theme –'Global challenges, European responses'- looks at how our regions and cities can lead the way in responding to the new challenges of globalisation, climate change and the global economic crisis.

The OPEN DAYS will provide a forum for the exchange of good practices and reflection on regional and local responses to these challenges in the framework of European integration. It will examine ways in which we must aim at restoring growth through innovation if we want to get the EU economy back on track. Today, in the context of global recession, Europe's regional economic and social development is more important than ever. The OPEN DAYS will discuss strategies, programmes and projects implemented at regional and local levels to help regions innovate in sectors as diverse as health, tourism, transport, the automotive industry, the creative economy and the environment. These discussions will also allow us to consider how growth can be coupled more effectively with sustainable development.

This year, we will also discuss how to work together across borders by highlighting the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. As the first macro-regional strategy of its kind, it can be seen as a starting point for a new approach to regional and territorial cooperation between regions and countries across Europe.

The OPEN DAYS will look at the future development of regional policy beyond 2013 in the context of the ongoing general review of the EU budget and the results of the evaluations of the 2000-2006 EU Cohesion Policy programmes. Our aim is to help all regions to find local solutions, tailored to meet the combination of challenges which they face.

For the first time, renowned academics and researchers will take part in the debates in the framework of a new OPEN DAYS feature: The University.

I look forward to this opportunity to meet with regional policy experts, practitioners and scholars and to exchange our views and thoughts.

 

 

 

Luc Van den Brande
President of the Committee of the Regions

Het is mij een waar genoegen u het programma van de Europese Week van Regio's en Steden - OPEN DAYS aan te kondigen. Het is al de zevende keer dat het Comité van de Regio's samen met de Europese Commissie en rond de 250 andere partners dit evenement organiseren. Het is een jaarlijkse mijlpaal voor de Europese regio's en steden. Met 7500 deelnemers is OPEN DAYS nu het belangrijkste evenement op de agenda van de Europese instellingen. Dit toont aan dat regio's en steden er toe doen en dat ze een actieve rol te vervullen hebben in het Europese integratieproces.

De topprioriteiten van OPEN DAYS 2009 zijn de economische crisis en de strijd tegen de klimaatverandering. Twee uitdagingen die de regionale en lokale overheden terdege aangaan en waarop zij ook antwoorden kunnen bieden, zoals zal blijken tijdens het evenement. Wij verwachten dat Europa op een gecoördineerde manier het hoofd zal bieden aan deze uitdagingen, en daarvoor ook een actief partnerschap met de lokale en regionale overheden zal aangaan.

OPEN DAYS 2009 staat in het teken van verschillende doelstellingen. Ten eerste komen er politieke afgevaardigden, beleidsmakers, deskundigen, praktijkmensen en journalisten samen om vanuit een regionaal perspectief te discussiëren over gemeenschappelijke vraagstukken. Ten tweede biedt het evenement een platform voor capaciteitsopbouw voor diegenen die betrokken zijn bij het beheer van EU-fondsen. Ten derde wordt er ondersteuning geboden voor samenwerking en netwerking tussen regio's en steden teneinde te onderzoeken welke formules het beste werken.Tot slot biedt het de gelegenheid om te debatteren over de toekomst van het Europees cohesiebeleid binnen een ruimere context, door recente onderzoeken en standpunten van derde landen en internationale organisaties in aanmerking te nemen. Om aan deze laatste doelstelling te voldoen, zal er voor het eerst een 'OPEN DAYS Universiteit' worden gehouden, waar academici met elkaar in gesprek kunnen gaan.

'Europa thuisbrengen' is een ware uitdaging. Eén van de belangrijkste elementen van de OPEN DAYS zijn de lokale activiteiten. We verwachten dat er in 2009 zo'n 250 activiteiten zullen worden gehouden in 33 landen, waarbij zo'n 30.000 mensen bereikt zullen worden. Scholen, universiteiten, lokale instellingen en organisaties zullen oktober 2009 tot 'de Europese maand van regio's en steden' maken.

Ik kijk ernaar uit u te ontmoeten op de OPEN DAYS 2009!

I am pleased to present to you the programme of the European Week of Regions and Cities - OPEN DAYS 2009. This is now the seventh time that the Committee of the Regions presents, together with the European Commission and around 250 other partners, what has become the annual landmark event for Europe's regions and cities. With 7,500 participants last year, the OPEN DAYS is now in fact the biggest event on the calendar of the EU institutions. This proves that regions and cities matter and that they have an active part to play in the European project.

OPEN DAYS 2009 top priorities will be the economic crisis and the fight against climate change. Both challenges particularly concern regional and local authorities and our event will prove that regions and cities have responses to it. We expect Europe to act in a coordinated way on its most important threats, including an active partnership with regional and local governments.

OPEN DAYS 2009 will serve several objectives. First, it will bring together political representatives, decision makers, experts, practitioners and the media to discuss common challenges from a regional point of view. Second, it will provide a platform for capacity-building for those involved in managing EU funds. Third, it will facilitate cooperation and networking among regions and cities in order to find out what works best.  Finally, it will provide an opportunity to debate on the future of the EU cohesion policy in a wider context by presenting recent research and views from third countries and international organisations. To help fulfil this latter objective, there will be for the first time an 'OPEN DAYS University' to provide a platform for academic debates.

'Bringing Europe home’ is a real challenge. One of the most important elements of the OPEN DAYS are the local events. In 2009, we expect around 250 of these  held in 33 countries addressing an audience of 30,000. Schools, universities, local institutions and organisations will make October 2009 the 'European month of regions and cities'. 

I look forward to meeting you at the OPEN DAYS 2009!

 

 

Jerzy Buzek
President of the European Parliament

As the world's biggest event on regional policy, the OPEN DAYS provides the excellent opportunity for experts and policy-makers alike to exchange views, to come up with new ideas and to agree upon deepened co-operation, not least within the European Parliament.

Regions and cities matter for the European project because citizens' view of Europe and the European Union are often shaped locally.  This is why I look forward to welcoming again the delegates of the Committee of the Regions and the participants of the OPEN DAYS to the European Parliament in Brussels. Together with Europe's regions and cities, the European Parliament takes a great political and legislative interest in the two main themes of the OPEN DAYS 2009: the effects of climate change and the economic crisis.  Europe is not short on ideas, even if regional solutions may vary.  We work together to find solutions which are underpinned by local approaches, programmes and projects. 

Having all the above in mind I wish the OPEN DAYS every success.

 

 

Maud Olofsson
Deputy Prime Minister

I år äger OPEN DAYS rum under en kritisk period för Europas regioner och städer.  Förutom att vi under klimatkonferensen i Köpenhamn som ligger några veckor fram i tiden måste säkerställa att vi kan få till stånd en ny global överenskommelse, måste vi även tänka i nya banor när det gäller att samarbeta för att hantera de utmaningar som Europas regioner och städer möter in en allt mer globaliserad värld. EUs strategi för Östersjöregionen är en väg att gå för att öka välståndet i denna dynamiska region samt att göra den mer miljömässigt hållbar, mer tillgänglig och attraktiv ochsäkrare. Många av de utmaningar som Östersjöregionen möter delas av andra delar av Europa; utmaningar som behöver tacklas på regional nivå. OPEN DAYS kommer i år att tillhandahålla en unik möjlighet att utbyta idéer och erfarenheter beträffande transnationellt samarbete inom ramen för en strategi.

This year's OPEN DAYS is being held at a critical time for Europe's regions and cities.  Not only will the Copenhagen summit on climate change be weeks away in which we need to make sure that we can achieve a new global agreement but the challenges that Europe's regions and cities face in an increasingly globalised world will require of us to think of new ways to work together.  The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is one such way, helping make this dynamic region more environmentally sustainable, more accessible and attractive, prosperous and secure.  Many of the challenges that the Baltic Sea Region face are common challenges to other parts of Europe; challenges which will need to be addressed on a regional basis.  This year's OPEN DAYS provides a unique opportunity to exchanges ideas and experiences on the benefits of transnational cooperation within a strategic framework.

 

 

José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission

Tive o privilégio de participar em muitas das anteriores edições dos OPEN DAYS, que constituem sempre ocasiões especiais. Ocasiões especiais para ajudar a reforçar os laços existentes entre a política de coesão europeia e outras áreas políticas como a inovação, o desenvolvimento sustentável, os transportes, a energia, etc. Ocasiões especiais para proporcionar às regiões e cidades um fórum que seja um espaço de encontro e de intercâmbio de experiências sobre questões que afectam a sua vivência diária. Este conjunto verdadeiramente diversificado e representativo de participantes empenhados no desenvolvimento das regiões e cidades europeias pode reagir aos desafios comuns que elas enfrentam e debatê-los.

A actual crise económica vem lembrar-nos que todas as regiões se vêem perante a necessidade de dar resposta a desafios mundiais emergentes. Vem também ensinar-nos que a política de coesão europeia é um poderoso instrumento de estabilidade económica e financeira, propiciando financiamento seguro e investindo em estratégias de desenvolvimento coerentes.  

Estou convencido de que a edicão dos OPEN DAYS deste ano, que conta com a participação de 214 regiões e cidades de todos os Estados-Membros, bem como de muitas outras do exterior da União Europeia, e com um número considerável de perto de 300 manifestações locais, nos trará uma lufada de ideias e de energia.

I have been fortunate to participate in many of the past editions of OPEN DAYS and it never ceases to be a special occasion.  It is about helping to strengthen the links between European cohesion policy and other policy areas such as innovation, sustainable development, transport, energy, etc.  It is about providing a forum for regions and cities to meet and exchange experiences on issues which affect their daily reality.  This truly broad cross-section of participants interested in the development of the European regions and cities can meet and discuss the common challenges they face.

The ongoing economic crisis reminds us that all regions are facing the need to respond to emerging global challenges. It is also teaching us that European cohesion policy is a powerful
instrument of economic and financial stability - it provides secure financing and it invests in coherent development strategies.  

I am convinced that this year's edition of the Open Days, with 214 regions and cities participating from all EU Member States, as well as many from outside the European Union, and an impressive number of nearly 300 local events, will give us all a fresh wave of ideas and energy.

 

 

Andris Piebalgs
Member of the European Commission responsible for Energy

"Šī nedēļa piedāvā iespēju uzsvērt visu līmeņu pārvaldības nozīmi enerģētikas jomā. Reģioni ir ļoti labā pozīcijā, lai izprastu pilsoņu vajadzības un problēmas, un rastu tām risinājumus. Tie spēlē īpaši svarīgu lomu enerģijas taupīšanas jomā."

"This week offers an opportunity to stress the role of all levels of government in the field of energy. Regions are particularly well placed to understand the needs and concerns of the citizens and at the same time to find apt solutions to problems. They have an especially important role to play in the field of energy savings."

 

 

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

"Trajnostna gospodarska rast je vedno bolj povezana z usposobljenostjo regijskih gospodarstev za spremembe in za inovacije. To pomeni, da je treba na vseh ravneh vložiti veliko več truda v ustvarjanje okolja, ki spodbuja inovacije, raziskave in razvoj. Še posebej sem vesel, da so inovacije ena izmed štirih osrednjih tem letošnjih OPEN DAYS."

"Sustainable economic growth is increasingly related to the capacity of regional economies to change and to innovate. This means that a much greater effort needs to be put at all levels into creating an environment that encourages innovation, research and development. I am particularly delighted that innovation is one of the four main themes of this year's edition of the OPEN DAYS."

 

 

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

"Všechny regiony se musejí potýkat  s nástrahami souvisejícími s  ekonomickým úpadkem. Lidská dimenze ekonomické krize je nyní také v centru pozornosti. Open Days poskytuje regionům a městům výjimečné fórum pro vzájemné sdílení úspěšných idejí jak povzbudit růst a více pracovních míst a také jak bojovat se sociální nerovností."

"All regions need to confront the challenges of the economic downturn. However the human dimension of the economic crisis is also now sharply in focus. Open Days provides an excellent forum for regions and cities to share successful ideas on boosting growth and jobs, but also on tackling social inequalities."

 

 

Androulla Vassiliou
Member of the European Commission responsible for Health

"Η υγεία είναι ζωτικής σημασίας για την ανταγωνιστικότητα και την οικονομική ανάπτυξη μιας περιφέρειας. Παρόλ’ αυτά, υπάρχουν ακόμα σημαντικές ανισότητες στον τομέα της υγείας στην Ευρωπαϊκή 'Ένωση, τόσο μεταξύ όσο και εντός των κρατών μελών. Τα υγειονομικά συστήματα αντιμετωπίζουν επίσης πολλές προκλήσεις που θα μπορούσαν να υπονομεύσουν τη βιωσιμότητα τους. Οι φετινές OPEN DAYS διαπραγματεύονται αυτές τις προκλήσεις εξερευνώντας το ρόλο των περιφερειών στην αντιμετώπιση των ανισοτήτων στην υγεία και στη βιωσιμότητα των υγειονομικών συστημάτων στην Ευρώπη."

"The importance of health to a region's competitiveness and its economic growth is vital.
However, there are still major health inequalities in the EU both between and within Member States. Healthcare systems are also facing many challenges that they could undermine their sustainability. This year’s OPEN DAYS address these challenges by exploring the role of regions in tackling health inequalities and the sustainability of healthcare systems in Europe."

 

 

Günter Verheugen
Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry

"Das gegenwärtige Europäische Jahr der Kreativität und Innovation unterstreicht den wichtigen Beitrag, den Kreativität und Innovation für wirtschaftliches Wachstum haben kann. In der aktuellen wirtschaftlichen Lage sind es gerade innovative kleine und mittlere Unternehmen, die den Anstoß geben für positive wirtschaftliche Entwicklung in den Regionen, auf die Europas Bürger warten."

"The European Year of Creativity and Innovation reminds everybody of the important contributions creativity and innovation can make to economic prosperity. In the current economic climate, innovative small and medium companies are instrumental in bringing about the positive economic developments in the EU's regions, which the citizens so eagerly await."

 

 

Stavros Dimas
Member of the European Commission responsible for Environment

Εάν οι πόροι από την Πολιτική Συνοχής χρησιμοποιηθούν με σύνεση, μπορούν να συμβάλλουν σημαντικά στο να μετριαστούν οι συνέπειες από την κλιματική αλλαγή στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. 'Έξυπνες επενδύσεις, σε τομείς όπως οι ανανεώσιμες πηγές ενέργειας ή τα ενεργειακά αποδοτικά κτήρια, θα βοηθήσουν να εκπληρωθούν οι φιλόδοξοι στόχοι που θα τεθούν από τη διάσκεψη των Η.Ε για την κλιματική αλλαγή, στην Κοπεγχάγη το Δεκέμβριο του 2009. Οι Open Days θα διερευνήσουν πώς η eco-καινοτομία μπορεί να παίξει έναν πιο σημαντικό ρόλο στην Πολιτική Συνοχής.

"Cohesion Policy funding spent wisely can make a significant contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change in the EU. Intelligent investments in areas such as renewable energies or energy efficient buildings will help meet the ambitious targets to be agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. The Open Days will explore how eco-innovation can play a more prominent role in Cohesion Policy."

 

 

Viviane Reding
Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society
and Media

"L'Europe est le principal innovateur mondial pour de nombreuses applications des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication (TICs). L'utilisation du haut débit est de plus de 23%, le taux de pénétration des communications mobiles dépasse 100% and nous nous dirigeons vers une administration ouverte en ligne ainsi que d'autres services publics. Mais nous avons besoin d'actions concrètes au niveau régional et d'un engagement pour convertir ces secteurs de pointe en sources de richesse et en création d'emplois pour l'avenir et pour donner l'opportunité aux citoyens d'avoir accès à des services de haute qualité, efficaces et pour bénéficier pleinement des atouts économiques et sociaux des technologies numériques."

"Europe is a world leading innovator in many applications of ICT. Broadband take up is over 23%, mobile communications use stands well over 100% and we are leading in open on-line government and other public services. But we need concrete regional level actions and commitment to convert these areas of ICT strength into sources of wealth and job creation for the future and to give opportunities for citizens to get high quality, efficient services and reap the full economic and societal benefits of digital technologies".

 

 

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

"Je sotva  vhodnejší čas upozorniť na potrebu posilnenia našich kapacít na inovácie a investície do vzdelávania a odbornej prípravy, ako v tomto  roku,   Európskom roku tvorivosti a inovácií. Open Days ponúka ideálnu príležitosť na  stimulovanie kreativity a   výmenu inovatívnych skúseností a učenia  sa od  prvotriednych iniciatív  nachádzajúcich sa tu v Európe."

"There is hardly a better time to highlight the need to reinforce our capacity for innovation, and for investment in education and training, than in this the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. Open Days provides an ideal occasion to stimulate creativity and to exchange innovative experience and learn from first-rate initiatives elsewhere in Europe."

 

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