This year's OPEN DAYS with the headline 'Europe's regions and cities: partners for investment and growth' were organised around three main topics:

1. 'Modernising Europe': The regions in the energy Union and the single digital market

2. 'Regions open for business': SME development, innovation and job creation

3. 'Places and spaces': Urban and rural development; urban-rural integration

Under the three sub-themes, participants were invited to address challenges and solutions related to management and implementation issues as well as the cross-border, inter-regional or transnational dimension. 

Croatian Regions Office members participated in three consortia organising the debates/workshops in the main programme and one consortium organising a side event in Brussels. Our members also profited from attending different workshops and taking the opportunity to meet with participants from other European regions and cities. 

 

ITI – The best way(s) to integrate European urban spaces (Krapina-Zagorje County)

The goal of the workshop, organised…

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After the traditional welcome by Johannes Jung, Head of the Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the EU, followed by a tour de table of all attendees, Marco Onida of DG REGIO gave an overview on the current state-of-play of EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). 

Most importantly, a working unit, the Danube Strategy Point (DSP) has been set up. The centralization in terms of monitoring, communication and implementation of the EUSDR has facilitated the work of the European Commission (EC) so far. Another big milestone of 2015 is the adoption of INTERREG Danube Transnational Programme.

Macro-regional strategies are not another layer of territorial cooperation, but a political framework for better cooperation. Therefore, it is important that existing financial resources are used for achieving the goals that politicians have committed themselves to. In this context, whereas the transnational programmes finance essentially the governance of the macro-regional strategies, big projects and…

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The conference was held in Brussels on July 6th, several months before the review of Europe 2020 strategy planned for December of this year. In his welcome speech, Mr Etele Baráth emphasized the need of cooperation of all the stakeholders across Europe in order to achieve Europe 2020 goals.

Based on a novel, interactive system participants were able to get involved in the discussion by answering questions online or posing questions to the speakers.

Key-note speeches:

Georgios Dassis, President of the Workers' Group at the EESC, in his keynote speech had to comment on the results of the Greek referendum. In his opinion, this was another situation in which the European integration process was forgotten. We are facing difficult times, with unbalanced distribution of wealth, high unemployment and decreased private spending. Our crisis is not just economic, but also humanitarian, he said.

Maria João Rodrigues, Member of the European Parliament, S&D…

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Luxembourg took over the Presidency of the European Council from Latvia and will hold in the second part of 2015. 

The Luxembourg Presidency has oulined an open approach and means to listen to the citizens, support business and cooperate with partners and institutions to work in Europe's best interests. The priorities are based on seven pillars:

  • Stimulating investment to boost growth and employment
  • Deepening the European Union's social dimension
  • Managing migration, combining freedom, justice and security
  • Revitalising the single market by focusing on its digital dimension
  • Placing European competitiveness in a global and transparent framework
  • Promoting sustainable development
  • Strengthening the European Union's presence on the global stage

The Luxembourg Presidency will seek to advance negotiations on updating the interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation, on the basis of the proposal submitted by the European Commission. This Agreement will enable better interinstitutional cooperation which should ensure the quality of legislation that…

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Representatives from Međimurje County, Petra Pavičić from Regional Development Agency and Stjepan Mikec from ACT group presented their good practise example at this year's edition of REVES Excellence Award. 

They presented the strategic partnership in development & implementation of the social economy program in Međimurje County through several strategic projects included in Međimurje County Development Strategy through the cooperation of local authorities with civil society (especially with ACT Group, first Croatian SE consortium based in the region):

Community centre

The goal is to establish a sustainable model of use and management of public resource (part of the former military barracks in Čakovec), where the community members have the freedom of assembly, aiming to implement common activities, social entrepreneurship related activities, social services, cultural services, informing, and other activities.

Expected results: By end of 2016 2,5 ha of abandoned public space (property of County of Međimurje) in function, about 20 social entrepreneurial…

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The conference was held on June 3rd at the European Parliament. The theme of the conference was presented by Mr Philippe Micheaux Naudet, project manager at ACR+. The focus was on biowaste management and best examples in the field.

Introduction speech was given by MEP Michèle Rivasi, vice-chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. She emphasized the need for a European dimension when it comes to waste management and to achieve this, local and regional authorities have to take on a more prominent role. Circular economy package has been put on hold by the Commission for now (until late 2015), but the Parliament has to make a commitment to push this policy into being. Circular economy produces growth and more jobs which makes it an important method in achieving Europe 2020 goals.

Ms Catherine Thiébaut, President of the SYBERT said good waste management policies should be aligned with…

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Croatian Rural Development Programme is one of 24 programmes adopted by the European Commission this week. With this adoption a total of 51 RDP have been adopted worth more than 62 billion euro (which is around 60% of total budget).

The programmes are aimed at improving the competitiveness of the EU farming sector, caring for the countryside and climate, and strengthening the economic and social fabric of rural communities in the period until 2020.

EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "One of the great strengths of our Rural Development concept is that we have core priorities, but it is up to each Member State or region to design a programme which suits its challenges and opportunities. The programmes adopted today offer funding for a range of dynamic projects, varying from modernisation projects for agriculture and encouraging generational renewal in Croatia and Romania, to rolling out broadband to sparsely populated…

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Croatian Regions Office participated in coordination talks organized by the representation of Baden-Württemberg in the framework of Brussels Danube Network meeting.

Head of BW representation, Mr Jung welcomed the participants and presented the newly formed Danube Strategy Point team which will be based in Brussels. 

Ms Ann-Jasmin Krabatsch from DG REGIO gave an overview on the state-of-play and perspectives of the EU Danube Strategy. Danube transnational programme is currently in the works and should be adopted in Autumn 2015. It will be a part of Interreg B programme. The programme will use existing ESIF funds. Programme is currently in the second phase of adoption, setting up selection criteria and aligning the funds. Ms Krabatsch spoke about the main Danube Strategy event this year – Danube Strategy Forum which will be held in Ulm under the title “Smart, social innovation for the Danube area”. She also shared some highlights from…

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EURegions Week 2017

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