A workshop of the European GMO-free Regions Network was held on December 5th, 2016 in Brussels, having as main topic the issue of GMO-free labelling in Europe. The workshop was organised by the Representation of North Rhine-Westphalia, and hosted participants and experts from Germany, France, Poland, Italy and Croatia.

The participants acknowledged that while there is virtually no cultivation of genetically modified crops in most European states, GMOs are still widely used in animal feed and in food processing. However, many consumers want their food to be produced entirely free from genetic modification.

To accommodate this need, national schemes for GMO-free labelling of food have been developed in several European countries on a voluntary basis. In recent years, food labelled ‘GMO free’ has considerably increased its market share. However, approaches towards labelling differ considerably between the member states. While labels are widely used in some countries, they are non-existent in…

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The European Commission (DG REGIO and DG MOVE) organized an URBAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK event on 23 November in Brussels bringing together cities to exchange knowledge and experiences in Smart, Innovative & Sustainable urban mobility. 

Participants were able to learn about the state of the art in innovative and tested urban transport solutions like electric buses, cleaner logistics, shared mobility, walking and cycling, and new mobility services. Urban mobility experts and experienced practitioners (from European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities, CIVITAS and other networks) brought in their knowledge on the development and implementation of innovative mobility solutions, on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPS), on financing (EIB and private investors) and on tools for knowledge sharing (e.g. CIVITAS and URBACT).

The 3 key questions addressed by the conference were:

- What are the main investment opportunities in smart, innovative and sustainable city mobility? 

- What are barriers to invest…

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September 28th was marked in Brussels as the day of the big Conference of the Regions organised as part of Lower Austria's initiative A Strong Renewed Regional Policy for all Regions post 2020. The conference made possible for regional presidents and high officials to express their vision of the future Cohesion Policy and was also an opportunity to present the Book of Signatures containing 337 signatures of the Political Declaration: A Strong Renewed Regional Policy for all Regions post 2020 to the representatives of the EU institutions. On behalf of the Croatian County Association President, Mr Goran Pauk, who signed the Declaration for all Croatian counties, the conference was attended by Ms Sanja Bošnjak, acting County Prefect of Virovitica-Podravina County.


EU Regional Policy (technical term: EU Cohesion Policy) has been created in 1986 with the Single European Act to contribute with concrete projects in the regions to the strengthening of economic, social and territorial cohesion. In the current financial period 2014-2020 it amounts to 351,8…

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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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Policy makers, practicioners, representatives of energy agencies, local and regional authorities, companies and academia gathere in Brussels from June 13th to June 17th to participate in the Policy Conference and numerous side events organised in the framework of another EU Sustainable Energy Week.

High level policy conference had more than 2000 participants who left with new ideas, connections and motivation for innovative energy projects. This year's EUSEW Ambassador Sudha Kheterpal, presented her invention Spark - a percussion shaker which converts kinetic energy from playing it into electricity. It can be used in developing countries and can empower people in rural off-grid areas to create their own energy.

EUSEW Awards took place on the first day of the policy conference. The ceremony was opened by Commissioner Cañete. He noted how citizen’s engagement is extremely important, hence the new category has been introduced – a citizen’s award (as a result of public vote).…

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Smart Regions conference took place in Brussels on June 1st and 2nd with the main aim to highlight innovative regional strategies and to boost cooperation between EU regions.

Regions and Member States of the European Union have developed their national or regional innovation strategies for smart specialisation. Those provide a strategic framework for the innovation-driven economic transformation of European regions and set out the main priorities for investments. They address emerging opportunities and market developments in order to build a competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation strengths to business needs. European Structural Investment Funds are the main financing source.

The role of the European Commission was to guide the regions in the process of determining fields eligible for investment based on specifities of each region. Another task at the EU level is to broker the partnerships between regions with similar or complementary strategies to further enhance European…

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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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