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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On February 9th The European Committee of the Regions organised the conference "Boosting entrepreneurial spirit – pioneering regions and cities in Europe".

One of the current key challenges in Europe is renewing and stabilising economic growth. In order to truly achieve dynamic growth in Europe and remain competitive in the global economy, Europe must find new, innovative and creative solutions to its challenges.


This event focused on experiences from European Entrepreneurial Regions (EER) and potentially from others, showcasing the benefits of entrepreneurial spirit by answering the following questions:

• What did the regions and cities do to become "entrepreneurial"?

• What is the role of decision-makers and administrators at all governance levels in boosting an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit?

• How can the positive results be shared and scaled up? Which EU tools and support are most effective?

• How can a bottom-up process be shaped, initiated and supported?…

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The conference was organized on January 12th by ACR+ in cooperation with Zero Waste Europe and Zero Waste France, in the Committee of the Regions and supported by Michel Lebrun (CoR) aimed to answer questions such as: How to transform the EU into a Low Carbon Economy? In which ways can material resource management contribute to a low carbon economy? What is the impact of improved material resource management practices on greenhouse gas? What are the differences between the various material resource management options regarding their impact and contributions to a low-carbon EU?


The conference began with the presentation of EUNOMIA’s report "The Potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy", continued with an overview of the opportunities after the COP21 and the contributions of circular economy to a low carbon society. To illustrate the discussion, the examples of Porto and Brussels, two European regional and local authorities engaged…

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About 400 participants from different organisations related to the tourism sector gathered in Brussels for this year's edition of European Tourism Day. The conference European Tourism Day 2015 revolved around the topic 'Promotion of Europe as a quality competitive tourism destination'.

The importance of tourism in the EU is clear: Europe is the number one tourist destination in the world and holds a global market share in the sector of 51%. However, the market is not connected enough inside the EU and EU citizens are choosing destinations outside of the EU more and more often. In order to keep the leading position in the global tourism industry EU is working on promotion of European destination, tourism friendly policies and helping stakeholders in tourism in accessing finance and markets.

The conference was divided into four panels discussing:

  • initiatives on the EU level in support of the promotion of Europe as a destination
  • the…

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