RegioStars Awards 2015 honours Europe's most innovative regional projects

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13/10/2015

Europe's most inspiring and innovating projects supported by Cohesion Policy funds will be at centre stage tonight during the 2015 RegioStars Awards ceremony. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu and RegioStars jury president MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij will announce the winning projects, chosen amongst 17 finalists in the following categories:

  • Smart Growth – Unleashing SME growth potential for a digital economy;
  • Sustainable Growth – Mobilizing investments in energy efficiency for the benefit of citizens and society;
  • Inclusive Growth – Integrating in society those at risk of social exclusion;
  • CityStar – Transforming cities for future challenges.

The winners include a project between Västsverige (Sweden) and Midtjylland (Denmark), a project in Andalucía (Spain), one in Puglia (Italy), and a cross border project between Galicia (Spain) and the North of Portugal.

Speaking ahead of the event, Commissioner Creţu said, "I hope the regions and cities of Europe will be inspired by the winners of tonight. These are exemplary projects in SME support, energy efficiency, social inclusion, and urban development. I wish to see many successful projects like this in the coming years; we should not forget that our policy will be judged on its ability to deliver growth and create jobs."

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility said: "I wish to congratulate the winning projects. The RegioStar Awards show that integrating those at risk of social exclusion in society is at the forefront of the European inclusive growth strategy. It also shows that the European Social Fund is a key instrument to help people into employment or out of poverty and social exclusion. I hope that we will see more examples of such good practices in the future." 

In this 8th edition of the RegioStars Awards, the European Commission received
143 applications which were evaluated by an independent professional jury on the basis of four criteria: innovation, impact, sustainability and partnerships.

The 2015 awards event comes at a crucial time as Member States have adopted most of the Operational Programmes. With a budget of €351.8 billion for a total of 387 programmes for the period 2014-2020, Cohesion Policy is one of the EU's main investment policies.

The RegioStars 2015 Awards Ceremony takes place at the "BOZAR" in Brussels in the context of the 2015 OPEN DAYS event.

The winners of 2015 are: 

SMART GROWTH: Unleashing SME growth potential for a digital economy.

- "Scandinavian Game Developers" – Midtjylland (DK) and Västsverige (SE)

The project offers advice and training to young entrepreneurs in the Scandinavian digital gaming industry and helps them establish viable companies in a highly competitive business environment. The business incubator in Grenå (Denmark) uses a business model developed by the Swedish partner-university of Skövde, and has seen the creation of 22 new small companies, currently employing 67 persons.

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH: Mobilizing investments in energy efficiency for the benefit of citizens and society

- PICSA – Andalucia (Spain)

The Sustainable Construction Programme in Andalucía has invested in the energy renovation of buildings and the rehabilitation of urban areas, boosting the competitiveness of the construction sector and the creation of skilled employment. Not only has it made the region's construction sector greener and helped create jobs, one of its main goals is also to educate the public on the importance of energy efficient and sustainable construction. The project has achieved energy savings of 26.000 tons/year, has avoided the emission of 62.000 tons of CO2 and is expected to create thousands of jobs in the coming years. 

INCLUSIVE GROWTH: Integrating in society those at risk of social exclusion

- "Diritti a scuola" – Puglia (Italy)

Based on a mixed approach of education and social care, this project significantly reduced early school leaving in the region. The project provided counselling, educational guidance and intercultural mediation, benefiting both students and their families. The percentage of 15 year old students with limited reading capacities was reduced to 16.7% in 2012, which is below the national target of 20 %. At the same time, the early school-leaving rate decreased from 30.3% in 2003 to 19.9% in 2013. In total, over 50,000 students and 10,000 families benefitted from the programme which gave them a new chance at a bright future. 

“CityStar” – Transforming cities for future challenges

"Eurocity of Chaves-Verin" Galicia (Spain) and North Portugal (Portugal)

The cities of Chaves and Verín joined forces to create a "Eurocity" through a common offer of municipal services and facilities, including joint cultural events, commerce, sports, leisure and tourism activities and the promotion of entrepreneurship. The project demonstrates that institutional, economic, social, cultural integration of two cross-border cities is possible and brings real benefits in terms of cost-saving, higher efficiency and a more diverse offer in municipal services for its citizens.

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