Brussels, 17 September 2004
Jacques Barrot, the Commissioner responsible for regional policy and Peter Straub, the President of the Committee of the Regions, presented today OPEN DAYS 2004, an event which will bring together more than 2000 key players in Brussels between 27 and 30 September. The event, which focuses on the management of the structural funds and future of cohesion policy, involves more than 100 regions and cities.
Presenting the event, Jacques Barrot said: “2004 is a crucial year for the Union’s cohesion policy. With enlargement, 75 million citizens in the new Member States have become beneficiaries of the structural funds and instruments. In parallel, the Commission has presented recently its reform proposal for cohesion policy in the period 2007-2013. May the OPEN DAYS facilitate Europe-wide exchange of best practices in order to strengthen administrative capacities and develop debates based on the concrete reality of the EU regions”.
Peter Straub added: “Our regions and cities are the lifeblood of the European economy: make them strong and we make the European economy strong. OPEN DAY 2004 will enable us to remind Member States of that reality. It will also give local and regional authorities a better understanding of the practical impact of the Commission’s reforms. We believe they will result in a more decentralised, simplified and efficient funding system, which can only be good for the EU’s competitiveness”.
The OPEN DAYS 2004 Opening Session on 27 September (15.00-17.00) will be addressed by Péter Balázs, member of the European Commission, and Karien Van Gennip, Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.
Martin Jahn, Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for economic affairs and Gerardo Galeote Quecedo, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development will also attend OPEN DAYS’ events.
More than 70 seminars and workshops on the theme of ‘The Practice and
the Reform of Regional Policy’ will take place in the offices of
Europe’s regions and cities on 28, 29 and 30 September, before the closing
session and plenary of the Committee of the Regions, to be held in the European
Commission’s Charlemagne Building (room S3).