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Brussels, 9 March 2005

OPEN DAYS - European Week of Regions and Cities 2005: Working together for Regional Growth and Jobs

Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Commission responsible for regional policy, and Peter Straub, President of the Committee of the Regions, presented today a new partnership for the OPEN DAYS-European Week of Regions and Cities 2005 under the headline “Working together for Regional Growth and Jobs”. Jointly organised by the two institutions, OPEN DAYS is an annual event focusing on regional development issues and cooperation. In the framework of the 2005 exercise, more than 2,000 regional policy stakeholders are expected in Brussels in October to discuss the next generation of regional development programmes co-financed by the EU Structural Funds and instruments.

“OPEN DAYS 2005 will be a market place for new ideas and a platform for exchanging experiences in regional development. The EU should make better use of the unlocked potential of its regions and cities by focusing on best practices in innovation, and more knowledge-based and sustainable pathways to growth and jobs”, said Commissioner Danuta Hübner.

“This will be our third annual OPEN DAYS and the most successful yet in terms of participation. OPEN DAYS is the premier event of its kind because it focuses on the daily, practical concerns of the regions and cities that are Europe’s engine of growth. OPEN DAYS is not a talking shop: it’s about delivering results and getting the EU economy back on track”, President Straub said.

The results of a call for applications to take part in OPEN DAYS 2005, to which 22 groups of regions and cities involving more than 120 partners sent proposals were presented by European Commissioner Hübner and President Straub. Of these, 16 conglomerates representing 110 partner offices were selected. This represents a substantial increase in the number of regions and cities involved compared to last year, when 11 conglomerates and 67 partner offices took part.

During this year’s OPEN DAYS-European Week of Regions and Cities, to be held between 10 and 13 October in Brussels, the conglomerates as well as the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions will organise a series of seminars and workshops on issues such as regional and urban development, innovation, sustainable development, and cross-border and transnational cooperation.

The new partnership comprises of regions and cities from 27 European countries, of which 22 come from EU Member States, three from the accession countries of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia, as well as Andorra and Norway. Fifteen partner regions or cities come from Spain, whereas France, Germany and Italy will be present with 11 regions each, Poland with 10, the United Kingdom with 9 and the Czech Republic with 6.

The OPEN DAYS-European Week of Regions and Cities 2005 will take place against the backdrop of preparations to launch the new generation of Structural Funds’ programmes and instruments for 2007-2013. For these, the Commission has proposed a EUR 336 billion financial and legal package, aimed at strengthening convergence, competitiveness, employment and cooperation for all regions across the EU25.

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