Side events

Side events

The European Week of Regions and Cities is the biggest event on EU regional and urban policy, open to all stakeholders. It attracts thousands of practitioners and experts to Brussels to discuss EU Cohesion Policy. Every year, a number of side events take place around the event in Brussels. Side event organisers are responsible for their event and its organisation. Find below a list of side events 2017:

Making our cities work: Implementing the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe

09 October 2017, 11:00-13:00
Organiser: UN-Habitat, in cooperation with the UN Regional Information Center UNRIC
Venue: Polack room, Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, Brussels

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, and one year later the New Urban Agenda, a global milestone agreement to guide worldwide efforts towards sustainable urbanisation. In the same year, the European Union agreed upon the Urban Agenda for the EU. Which possibilities do cities and regions in Europe have to get engaged and how can we ensure that all levels of governments and relevant stakeholders are effectively engaged in the implementation of these frameworks? 


  • Alain Flausch, Secretary General UITP
  • Birgit de Boissezon, European Commission (tbc)
  • Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent (tbc)
  • Paulius Kulikauskas, UN-Habitat

Moderator: Caroline Petit, Deputy Director, UNRIC

Contact: Tobias Kettner, Outreach and Liaison Officer, UN-Habitat Office for Europe and European Institutions

Registration: Participants are encouraged to register online (but on-site registration will be possible)


The EU and the promotion of the integration of migrants – What is going well and where is potential for optimisation?

9 October 2017, 14:00-16:45
Organiser: The European Offices of the Local Authorities of Baden-Wurttemberg, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities and the Federal Association of Non-statutory Welfare (BAGFW)
Venue: EU-Office of the German Caritas Association, Rue de Pascale 4-6, Brussels 

The workshop will be held in German only. No translation will be provided. 

Expert discussion will address the following topics:

  • Which challenges face the local authorities and the non-statutory welfare?
  • Which EU funding projects promote the integration of migrants?
  • Where are the pros and cons? Would more coherence be possible?
  • Is there potential for simplification?
  • What should be taken into consideration when designing the next funding period? 

Project partners will present their integration projects. 

Contacts: Tanja Sprungala, Caroline Bogenschütz



Interreg Volunteer Youth – Get together

09 October 2017, 19:30-21:00
Organiser: Association of European Border Regions
Venue: Press Club Brussels Europe, rue Froissart 95, Brussels 

Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) is a pilot initiative promoting solidarity among young Europeans by involving them in volunteering experiences within Interreg Programmes and Projects. IVY is part of the European Commission’s European Solidarity Corps.

Join this “get together” cocktail and meet the first ever deployed IVY & EU Solidarity Corps volunteers. Find out what is the added-value of becoming a volunteer or hosting a young European to support you with your Interreg activities and get more visibility!

The event will not only gather volunteers from all over the EU but also their host organisations, EU institutions representatives as well as youth & volunteering associations together with experts of European Territorial Cooperation. 

Contacts: Alessandra Cardaci, Cinzia Dellagiacoma



Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Economic Growth: MIT REAP

10 October 2017, 08:15-10:45
Organiser: Scotland Europa, Highlands and Islands Enterprise & Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Venue: Scotland House, Rond-Point Schuman 6, Brussels

Successful economies enable entrepreneurs to build competitive businesses through regional ecosystems which are supportive, open and collaborative. MIT created the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) in 2012 to work with regional leadership teams to understand, convene and strengthen their entrepreneurial ecosystems. Scotland joined the first cohort in 2012 and has been delivering a REAP strategy since 2014.

MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Scott Stern will present an overview of the REAP programme, offering key insights on policy and practice in building strong ecosystems which enable entrepreneurship to flourish. Chair of the panel, Donna Chisholm from Highlands and Islands Enterprise will discuss the development and implementation of a REAP strategy nationally. A panel of experts from European regions, including Andalusia and Southwest Norway, and beyond will share their views on optimising entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Contact: Rickard Eksten

Website and registration



Improving EU citizens’ life through meaningful innovation in healthcare: Sharing regional experiences

10 October 2017, 08:30-11:00
Organiser: Philips & Schuman Associates
Venue: L42 Business Center, rue de la Loi 42, Brussels

The event will share factual experience on opportunities and challenges in using the ESI Funds 2014-2020 – the potential benefits of public-private partnerships coming from Poland and Romania. The beneficiaries of the EU funded project “Silesian Centre for Engineering Development of Medicine and Sport, Silesian University of Technology, Poland” will share their insights on how the regional OPs contribute to development of tele-medicine, tele-monitoring, virtual reality and rapid prototyping for healthcare, and what the bottlenecks are.  This strand will also allow discussion of the results achieved so far, while looking ahead at the post-2020 framework and reflecting on simplification. The local outlook will be complemented by the views of Brussels stakeholders from the EU institutions (EP, EC- DG SANTE, DG REGIO, DG CNECT) involved on innovative aspects related to Healthcare and ESI Funds.

The workshop organisers intend to formulate conclusions that could contribute to preparation on the next programming period. An extensive social media campaign will be rolled out to engage with the wider audience under the #SharingKnowledge theme. 

Contact and registration: Malgorzata Stepniak




Together with EU funds - for better transport connectivity

10 October 2017, 09:00-11:00
Organiser: Dubrovnik Neretva region
Venue: European parliament, Jan 6Q1 

The Conference titled "Together with EU funds - for better transport connectivity" will focus on trans-European transport networks and cross-border transport connections. It is related with EURegionsWeek 3rd theme of Sharing knowledge to deliver results. Over 80 delegates from EU institutions, regional development agencies and EU regions will be in attendance. The conference will have Panel discussion on "Importance of Transport Connectivity in Supporting  Regional Economic  Development".

The organisers are Dubrovnik Neretva Region, Brod Posavina Region, Karlovac Region, Vukovar Srijem Region and Member of European parliament Mrs. Dubravka Šuica.

Contact: Hrvoje Butigan



Renovate Europe Day 2017: What building stock by 2050? Energy efficient & resilient

10 October 2017, 10:00-17:30
Organiser: Renovate Europe
Venue: Room ASP 3H1, European Parliament, Brussels  

The EU’s major buildings legislation is under review: this is the opportunity to boost the quality of life and wellbeing of citizens through energy renovation.  Citizens deserve warmer homes, better workplaces, healthier schools and safer, livelier neighbourhoods. How can we make the EU vision of a Nearly Zero Energy (NZEB) building stock by 2050 deliver the best results for citizens? What is the best way to reflect the important contribution which buildings must make to the Paris Agreement in the EU's Clean Energy Package? How can we improve the quality of life & wellbeing of EU citizens through better buildings?

 Contact: Caroline Simpson

Register: online or by email


Seeking synergies between R&D&I and Structural Funds: How to support SMEs in the access to funds

10 October 2017, 10:30
Organiser: Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region in cooperation with Friuli Innovazione
Venue: Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region - Brussels Liaison Office, Rue du Commerce 49, Brussels 

The aim of the event is to present the results of EUROSYN 'Improve innovation services for SMEs by enabling synergies between R&D&I European funds'. The project is  financed under H2020 INNOSUP scheme whose aim is to peer learn about best practices and methodologies concerning support services to be provided to SMEs for the better exploitation of EU funds. EUROSYN involved three innovation agencies specialised in providing services to SMEs and supporting them in the access to EU funds for Research, Development and Innovation. During the event, good EU practices for the synergic exploitation of EU funds will be reviewed. 


Contacts and registrationFriuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region - Brussels Liaison Office


Municipal, regional and national co-operation with the aim of bringing NEET´s back to studies and/or work, boosting integration and providing relevant competences to the labour market

10 October 2017, 12:30-13:30
Organiser: Skåne Association of Local Authorities and Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions
Venue: Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, Square de Meeus 1, Brussels 

An urgent issue now and in the foreseeable future is the question of providing competences to the labour market in order to sustain growth. Sweden has accepted many refugees and it´s a resource we must take care of. Education and jobs are important tools for integration and we will in this seminar give examples of how this can be achieved by cooperating. Another key issue is how we handle the large group of mostly younger persons which for many reasons haven´t entered the labour market. The seminar addresses working with these groups and shares examples that have proved successful.

Contact: Jan-Åke Johansson




COST: Networks to share knowledge and deliver results

10 October 2017, 13:30-15:00
Organiser: COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)
Venue: Welsh House, Rond-point Robert Schuman 11, 1000 Bruxelles 

COST is an EU Programme funding networks (Actions) of researchers and stakeholders in diverse domains, including urban mobility, city planning and environment. 

In this event, several Action participants, from research and regional/local administrations, will put forward the benefits when participating in a COST Action, as :

  • get evidence-based information on scientific and societal;
  • provide feedback to the scientific community on policy actions linked to the challenges;
  • share information between different local and regional organisations.


13h30 Networking lunch

14h00 Presentation of COST

14h15 Testimonials of participants on the added-value of COST for regions and municipalities

Contacts: Karina Marcus, Mickael Pero



Building capacities for bottom-up social innovation in regional development

10 October 2017, 14:00-17:00
Organiser: Diaconia of Schleswig-Holstein / Protestant Church in Germany / Diakonie Deutschland
Venue: Protestant Church in Germany, Brussels office, Rue Joseph II 166, Brussels

Social innovation is a source of sustainable growth in European regions. Often though, regional efforts to strenghten social innovation remain rootless if they are not aligned with the actual needs of users. Through co-design strategies, services can be tailored to the target groups’ needs. However, social service providers are rarely trained in applying such schemes.

In this workshop SEMPRE, a project co-financed by the Baltic Sea Region Programme, will present its empowerment and co-design approach which involves users in social service design, production and delivery. End-user involvement contributes to regional resilience and to the reactivation of inherent regional potential. 

Contacts: Doris Scheer , Ulrike Truderung




Futures of European solidarity

10 October 2017, 15:00-18:00
Organiser: University of Siegen, TransSOL Project
Venue: Social Platform, Square de Meeûs 18, Brussels 

What are the futures of European solidarity and what role can we play in the future of European solidarity? Since 2008 solidarity mechanisms have been put to the test, with consequences not only on the national level, but also in how people, cities and regional entities respond to solidarity. Starting in 2015, the TransSOL Horizon2020-funded project started to look at solidarity in eight European countries, how this had been affected and forms of response and resilience emerging across borders at the national, local and individual level. This event will discuss the research results and policy options stemming from our findings.

Contact and registration: Natalie Roxburgh 


The role of INTERREG in regional green growth. Experiences from Scandinavia

10 October 2017, 16:00-17:00
Organiser: Kunnskapsbyen Lillestrøm; Oslo Region EU Office; Akershus County
Venue: Nordic House, Rue de Luxembourg 3, 1000 Brussels 

Many countries in the EU look towards Scandinavia for inspiration on green innovation and sustainable development. This seminar will focus on the role of INTERREG within regional sustainable development and will present two concrete examples of Scandinavian INTERREG projects that enable green growth through cooperation across Norway, Sweden and Denmark. 

Contact: Alexandra Maria Almasi 



Improving the communication of ESI funds: The way forward

10 October 2017, 17:00-18:30
Organiser: Calabria Region, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions
Venue: Calabria Region/CPRM, Rond-Point Schuman 14, Brussels

In the context of the debate on the future of Cohesion policy, the communication of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) has acquired a new salience. The regulations for 2014-2020 have significantly strengthened the focus on both the transparency of information regarding funding opportunities and the dissemination of results. However, as recognised by Commissioner Cretu, further efforts are required to increase the visibility and the positive image of Cohesion Policy and the ESI Funds.

The objective of the workshop is to share experience from the ground regarding the implementation of communication activities related to programmes and exchange views on options for post 2020. The discussion will intertwine the experiences of regions/managing authorities with academic and institutional perspectives. 

Contact and registration: Francesco Molica 

The Randstad Region Dinner Party 2017

10 October 2017, 17:30-21:30
Organiser: Randstad region
Venue: House of the Dutch Provinces (HNP), Trierstraat 59-61, Brussels

During the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 in Brussels, the Dutch provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland, will host their annual Randstad Region Dinner Party at the House of the Dutch Provinces.

The event will start with some thought provoking introductions on the role of metropolitan areas in Europe, followed by an informal walking dinner offering excellent networking opportunities. 

Contact: Mirko van Muijen, Head of Office, Representation of the Randstad Region


The future of urban resilience – Synergy potentials between the city resilience framework and the sustainable development goals

10 October 2017, 18:00
Organiser: Vejle Municipality/Resilient Vejle (Denmark)
Venue: South Denmark House, Avenue Palmerston 3, 1000 Brussels 

Come and participate in our work-lab and help us search for synergy potentials between the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the City Resilience Framework.

The Resilience Framework guides resilience development for member cities of the 100 Resilient Cities network, which Vejle joined in 2013, and was the first city in Europe to launch a Resilience Strategy. Now we have the Sustainable Development Goals, which can catalyse even greater urban and global change. Based on our extensive experience with the Resilience Framework we take urban development to the next level combining two complementary approaches in the search for a "Resilience 2.0".

Contact: Maren Andersen

Register (Places are limited; registration before 9 October) 


Health at the heart of urban development – Creating healthy environments

11 October 2017, 08:30-10:00 – Breakfast meeting
Organiser: City of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Venue: Scotland House, Robert Schumanplein 6, Brussels 

Currently 72% of the European population is living in cities, and that number is growing. This leads to new environmental and societal challenges we haven’t seen before. How can we realise a healthy urban environment while simultaneously maintaining good access, improving air quality and reducing noise pollution? Questions such as these will be asked and answered during the political dialogue organised by the City of Utrecht together with its partners, which will focus on healthy urban living and inclusive health. We are convinced that health at the heart of urban development strategy makes people happier, our environment healthier and our economy more sustainable.

We have invited several partners to create a multiple-perspective approach on healthy inclusive urban environments. The partners participating represent an interesting mix of institutions, such as international and European organisations, regions and cities, and academia. 

More specifically, DG SANTE has a European perspective on health and food safety. The WHO has an international ambition and has started a European movement on engaging local governments through the European Healthy Cities Network. The Metropolitan area of Lyon has a goal to incorporate health in to their smart city ambition for their 1,3 million inhabitants. Furthermore, the University of Edinburgh is currently working on urban inclusive design with a focus on social health of the elderly, and can therefore provide us with an academic approach to healthy cities. Lastly, Utrecht will be represented by Deputy Mayor for health Victor Everhart. 

Combining these partners and your presence will surely result in an engaging conversation! 

Contacts: Agnes Schuurman, Bharti Girjasing, Miriam Weber



Regional Operational Programme and investment opportunities in Bucharest-Ilfov Region

11 October 2017, 08:30-13:00
Organiser: Bucharest-Ilfov Regional Development Agency
Venue: Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU, rue Montoyer, 12, Brussels 

Bucharest-Ilfov Regional Development Agency (BIRDA), with the support of the Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU  organises a side event during the European Week of Regions and Cities. 

The event is focused on sharing knowledge to deliver results, in the context of regional policy and investments financed through REGIO - Regional Operational Programme in the most developed region of Romania. The main beneficiaries of REGIO in Bucharest-Ilfov Region are local authorities. How the European funds can be used to resolve the issues of mobility and congestion, energy efficiency of buildings or environment security?

Contact: Simona Curpan



Boosting your business in agro-food

11 October 2017, from 09:30
Organiser: Syntra West
Venue: Vleva (Flemish-European Liaison Agency), Main Conference Room, Kortenberglaan 71, Brussels

Explore how to develop business in agro-food during the demo workshop ‘How to develop business in agro-food’ on 11 October at 9.30 in Brussels. Blended learning will give you clear, practical and easy-to-use techniques and insights in marketing and development for a SME. Experience how small and medium enterprises and start-ups can develop their business through gaming and business cases during this event. Challenge your colleagues, the trainer and yourself with your ideas and projects before bringing the best ones in reality in your community!

Contact: Emanuel David


Fuel cell micro-cogeneration: Generating sustainable heat and power for your home

11 October 2017, 10:00-19:30
Organiser: COGEN Europe, coordinator of the EU-funded projects ene.field and PACE
Venue: Autoworld, Parc du Cinquantenaire 11, Brussels - Rooms: Classic Lounge & Terrace and Febiac Room 

The joint ene.field and PACE event is this year’s premier event & fuel cell micro-Cogeneration exhibition showcasing the latest smart energy solution for private homes.

Organised in partnership with the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), this high-level event will mark the end of EU project ene.field and introduce PACE, two flagship EU projects aimed at unlocking the significant potential for fuel cell micro-cogeneration in Europe. The programme of the event features speakers representing regional and local entities that will present and discuss the exemplary role of regions in paving the way for the European energy transition. 

Contact: Benedetta Di Costanzo, Project Officer, COGEN Europe

Register by 6 October 

Websites:  ene.field  / PACE

Energy for the Future - Energy 4.0

11 October 2017, 14:00-18:00
Organiser: Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Žilina, Slovakia
Venue: Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the European Union, avenue de Cortenbergh 107, Brussels

Digitisation is affecting more and more industries. While energy has been key in the industrial revolution so far, not all parts of the energy industry may have yet fully realised how much the current digital industrial revolution will be transforming the energy sector. The sector faces its own transformation towards a system that should deliver secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy to all European consumers.

The debate will focus on energy efficiency, in particular looking at future electrical energy solutions, diversification of energy sources, intelligent buildings, energy management and ICT in energy applications.

The speakers will present their opinion about the future of the energy sector and how it can be influenced by Energy 4.0. They will also present their research activities and real applications related to Energy 4.0.


Contact: Peter Breda


Coastal Tourism Network of Europe – Sharing knowledge to deliver results in the development of Coastal Tourism

11 October 2017, as off 17:00
Organiser: Municipality of Varde in collaboration with South Denmark European Office
Venue: South Denmark House, Avenue Palmerston 3, 1st floor 

Join us for the kick off event and let us get to know each other and share knowledge related to Coastal Tourism – to deliver results together and develop Coastal Tourism. Our idea is to create a network with 5-10 partners from Europe. The network will revolve around the development of coastal tourism and working with potential and challenges related to this topic.

At the event, we will present our approach to coastal tourism and talk about the purpose of the network. There will be an open discussion about potentials and ideas and the next steps towards the establishing of the network. 


Municipality of Varde: Christine Gärtner

South Denmark European Office: Cathrine Holm Frandsen 

Registration (please list your local/regional authority and your interest in the network) 

Please note that you do not have to register; please feel welcome to participate if you have an interest in developing coastal tourism and in sharing your knowledge related to this topic

The corporate sector & urban resilience

11 October 2017, 17:30-19:30
Organiser: Resilient Regions Association with 100 Resilient Cities Pioneered by Rockefeller Foundation
Venue: Skåne European Office, Rue du Luxembourg 3, 1000 Brussels 

Collaboration is a key component to building a lasting urban resilience movement across Europe.

We invite you to learn how the private sector is taking on a leading role in creating resilience. Become inspired by some of the world’s most distinguished thought leaders and practitioners in the urban resilience field such as Chief Resilience Officers from various European cities, industry leaders, the Climate KIC and Resilient Regions Association. A panel led by Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities, will be followed by a reception providing invaluable opportunities for networking and partnership-building. 


Contacts and registration: Silvia Haslinger Olsson, Luis Alvarado, Harry Fellows

Websites:, ,

Financing local energy roadmaps: Special focus on the renovation challenge

12 October 2017, 09:00-13:00
Organiser: Energy Cities
Venue: Renewable Energy House, 63 Rue d’Arlon, Brussels 

Energy efficiency is the ‘no regret’ solution to reduce the European Union’s dependence on energy imports and fight climate change, while it also features multiple benefits. Yet, the potential of energy efficiency is underexploited. The EU’s 30% energy efficiency target foreseen for 2030 could only be reached as a result of effective multi-level governance between local, regional and national authorities. Such cooperation is especially valuable in private building renovations, which could contribute massively to this target, while creating local jobs, boosting GDP, raising the quality of life and keeping money at home.

This European workshop is organised by Energy Cities in the framework of the Horizon 2020 PUBLENEF project, aiming at assessing needs of local and regional authorities in terms of financing their sustainable energy projects, with a special focus on the renovation of private buildings. A second purpose of the event is to link those seeking to implement projects with those who can provide for financing or enable their implementation in other ways. 

Contact: David Donnerer

Agenda and registration


Regions as change agents for sustainable energy: Bottom-up and shared approach to policy-making

12 October 2017, 09:30-12:30
Organiser: Piemonte Region
Venue: Piemonte Region Brussels, Rue du Trône 62, Brussels 

Piemonte Region hosts a workshop on energy sustainability that relies on project results. Three INTERREG Alpine Space projects coordinated by Piemonte Region and CSI Piemonte focus on sustainable energy with different but complementary approaches:

  • CESBA Alps: CESBA Approach, Assessment systems, KPI, Transnational Passport, Sustainable territories.
  • PEACE_Alps: Local energy plans implementation, Centralized solutions, Support to Municipalities
  • THE4BEES: Human behaviours, Co-creation, Integrated IT ecosystem 

The workshop will discuss elements to be analysed and possibly integrated in the future regional policies on energy and low carbon. Participants will be involved in a participative teamwork exercise to design a proposal of innovative policy for sustainable energy. 

Contact: Désirée Bua 

Pre-register by 10 October (please indicate your name, role and organisation)

NB: On 12 October, registration of participants will start at 9:00 a.m. outside the conference room.

Biodiversity in regions and cities – Designing effective actions and strengthening ecosystem resilience through Cohesion Policy

12 October 2017, 09:30-16:00
Organiser: Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) on behalf of the European Commission
Venue: Berlaymont (Salle 3), Rue de la Loi 200, Brussels

This event is an interactive workshop on strengthening the ecological and socio-economic resilience of regions and cities through more effective actions for the conservation of biodiversity. It targets in particular national and regional authorities responsible for planning and managing the EU Cohesion Policy funds in the context of nature and biodiversity. The aim of the workshop is to improve the understanding and skills of the relevant authorities in applying the Common Framework for Biodiversity Proofing EU funding, with a specific focus on maintaining and restoring biodiversity and ecosystems, and enhancing the services they provide to regions and cities.

Contact: Vujadin Kovacevic

Registration: Please email Marianne Kettunen from the IEEP by 21 September.

Disaster Risk Management in European Regions: Towards reducing the number of affected people

12 October 2017, 14:30-17:00
Organiser: European Committee of the Regions' Commission for natural resources (CoR NAT) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
Venue: European Committee of the Regions, room JDE51, rue Belliard 101, Brussels

This high-level side event focus on disaster risk reduction at local and regional level in Europe. It takes place as the yearly policy event co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), with the leading topic this year on how to reduce the number of affected people (Sendai Target B). Discussions will address the prevention of natural disasters as well as on the financing of disaster risk management.

Two specialised panels will discuss the role of local and regional authorities as key players in disaster prevention, and the role of financial instruments for closing the gaps in disaster risk governance.

Mr. Karl-Heinz Lambertz, CoR President, Mrs. Corina Crețu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Mr. Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, will participate as key note speakers.