The 9th OPEN DAYS will be held over four days from 10 to 13 October, in a period during which the debate on the European Commission's legislative proposals for cohesion policy post-2013 and the budget debate in the Council and the European Parliament about size, duration and priorities of the forthcoming Multi-annual Financial Framework will dominate the political agenda. This will happen against the backdrop of continued efforts at all levels of governance to exit the financial and economic crisis and the 2nd year of implementation of the 'Europe 2020' strategy. The latter will influence the discussion about objectives of the new generation of cohesion policy programmes.
Regions and cities will play a major role in the discussions on the above-mentioned issues. Their input with regard to a more efficient delivery of cohesion policy will be particularly valuable.
The OPEN DAYS will take good account of the political and institutional circumstances. In parallel, it will continue to be the annual platform of good practice showcasing results and projects from current 'convergence', 'regional competitiveness and employment', and 'territorial cooperation' programmes, in order to support sharing of experiences and to stir debate about good local, regional and cross-border governance and management of EU funding. This exchange between practitioners will be mixed with input from academia. Another successful element will be the participation of third countries, which are keen to hear and learn from European regions' experiences in regional policy.
Under the headline 'Investing in Europe’s future: Regions and cities delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth', the OPEN DAYS 2011 will be structured around three thematic priorities:
will focus on discussing and visualising how Cohesion Policy contributes to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This thematic priority will include issues such as; research and innovation; "Digital Europe"; creative industries; regional and urban low-carbon development strategies; energy efficiency; cooperation on climate action; regional and local employment strategies; tackling poverty and social exclusion.
Under this thematic priority, workshops and debates will focus on how to improve delivery of Cohesion Policy in the current period, but also after 2013. Exchange of good practice between practitioners will be mixed with discussions on certain aspects or novelties of the regulatory framework post-2013 proposed by the Commission. Seminars could focus on sub-themes like "moving from grants to loans", "more focus on results", on-going evaluation, new evaluation methods, the right balance between concentration and flexibility, how to ensure visibility of EU's Regional policy through results and projects, Common Strategic Frameworks and Partnership contracts etc.;
Under this thematic priority discussions will focus on highlighting the usefulness of territorial approaches when identifying regional needs and exploiting regional potentials. Experiences and specific solutions in the fields of e.g. urban and local development, territorial co-operation and the European Grouping on Territorial Co-operation (EGTC), macro-regional strategies, regions with specific geographical/demographic challenges etc. could be exchanged. In addition, new research on regional and urban development will be debated under the roof of the 'OPEN DAYS University'. Seminars with third countries will also take place under this theme.
All seminars or actions during Open Days will have to highlight the themes mentioned above.