This lunchtime briefing held at the Committee of the Regions on 5 July was aimed at presenting good practices and recommendations as regards the public procurement systems in EU Member States with a view to enhancing investments at local and regional level. It also aims to raise awareness of the pivotal role of administrative capacity in the EU's efforts to enhance investment in all EU regions.

The briefing, with speakers from DG REGIO, was an opportunity to present to participants the main findings and recommendations of the stock-taking study on administrative capacity in the field of public procurement published by DG REGIO.  

The study provides a systematic assessment of the public procurement systems of each of the Member States with a particular focus on the way how they are organised and function along with valuable information (country specific recommendations in 28 country profiles) as to how to improve the…

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On Saturday 28 May 2016, EU institutions opened their doors to celebrate the Europe Day. Participants were able to join and learn more about the European Union at numerous events and stands organised in the European Commission, the Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions. CoR's 5th floor was traditionally reserved for the Festival of European Regions and Cities where many European regional and local entities had their own stands where they interacted with the visitors and spread word on the specialties of their regions.

 

Croatian Regions Office participated with two of its members present in Brussels. Varaždin County representatives presented the touristic offer of the north-west Croatia and offered participants a taste of traditional home-made products, while the Regional Development Agency Slavonija and Baranja presented the touristic potential of the City of Osijek and Osijek-Baranja County as well as a few of the most successful projects…

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On May 17th Commissioner Creţu met with representatives of regional offices in Brussels. The Regional Offices, of which there are over 300 in Brussels, are the representations of regional and local authorities in EU Member States and act much like “embassies” on city or regional level.

During the meeting, Commissioner Creţu discussed 4 topics: migration, the Urban Agenda, simplification for beneficiaries of EU funds and the Future of Cohesion Policy post 2020. 

Migration is considered first and foremost an urban issue which is why it will also be addressed during the official launch of the EU Urban Agenda in Amsterdam on May 30th. This challenge has to be taken on by the entire EU and positive impacts of refugee integration have to be shown. The European Commission is open towards changing the Operational Programmes if necessary to adjust to this new situation, however, only at the Member States' request. An example…

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On May 11th, Brussels Environment, a member of ACR+ network, organised, in collaboration with ACR+, an international conference “Circular Economy in practice: Rethinking our production and consumption models”. This conference was inspired by the Brussels Region’s ‘Circular Economy Regional Program’ (Programme Régional en Economie Circulaire – PREC) and the adoption of the new Circular Economy Package by the European Commission. The conference focused on circular business models, the sharing economy, and on the reuse and repair sector. New initiatives explained their activities helping to change consumption patterns, and discussed enabling and hindering factors. 

In the framework of this conference, at the roundtable titled: The role of Reuse and Repair economy, Mr Ivan Božić presented social cooperative Humana Nova, first in Croatia. They are producing and selling quality and innovative textile products made from ecological and recycled fabrics for the needs of the domestic and foreign markets. This cooperative employs disabled and…

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This seminar explored the topic of improving regulation for SMEs. It provided participants with an overview of the main EU initiatives aimed at improving regulation, in particular in the framework of the REFIT Platform, created synergies between some of the main players in the field of Better Regulation and shared information on working questions and methodologies, and identified potential future priority files in the area of improving regulation for SMEs.

Particular attention was given to regulatory obstacles in the area of VAT, however, it was also spoken of further priority dossiers in the area of regulatory simplification for SMEs, bringing together the expertise of regional and local authorities and key stakeholders. The aim was to gather evidence for the political discussion about Smart Regulation for SMEs within the CoR and potentially also for the CoR's contribution to the work of the REFIT Platform.

Business friendly environment is crucial for achieving…

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With the initial discussions on the EU's post-2020 programming period already in place, NAT Commission of the CoR, organised a seminar to discuss the future of rural areas. The concern is further increased wth the fact rural areas are not faring as well as was planned in the current policies either. Critisism has been made of low investments into rural development. 

Possible solutions to boost rural development is the change in approach, making the EU funds more accessible and giving farmers and rural communities enough flexibility to develop their respective areas in the way that works best for their regions. Rural diversity is not adequately developed and used to make life better for its citizens, which is a huge missed opportunity given how much area of the EU are the rural and peri-urban territories.

European Countryside Movement (a platform of international organisations) launched a call for a White Paper…

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The two-day conference was opened by the hosting Committee of the Regions member Michiel Scheffer who spoke about the importance of the textile industry in Gelderland in the Netherlands, his home region. He stated closing the skills gap and reframing the industry are the most important issues. Textile industry has to become more innovative, has to be linked to circular economy, be a part of industrial symbiosis system (e.g. with paper and plastic industry). Textile industry can be a tool to tackle main European challenges; how to overcome jobless growth and create bridges between European regions.

Lutz Walter from the European Technology Platform said that regional innovation has not played a prominent role so far in the textile industry and the Platform wants to change that. He presented the initiative to connect regional actors in the textile industry to facilitate knowledge transfer, specifically to exchange experience on how to…

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The Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy has organized the 3rd Urban Development Network – seminar on the 18th of February 2016 in Brussels. This seminar repeated the 2rd Urban Development Network which took place 3 June. Almost 200 representatives from cities, Managing Authorities and other stakeholders attended the seminar which was focused on the implementation of sustainable urban development (Article 7 ERDF). Workshops were organized around: design of integrated strategies; capacity building within cities and MAs; and project selection. In addition, short updates were given to the audience on: the launch of the URBACT III implementation networks; Urban Innovative Actions; the pilot peer-to-peer UDN event in Seville; TAIEX peer-to-peer and its relevance to urban issues; and Sustainable Urban Mobility (presentation from DG MOVE). DGREGIO gave a detailed update of the state of art of the implementation of Article 7 within the Member States.

Introduction of the UDN by DG REGIO

In recognition…

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