Brussels, 5 October 2007
Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Michel Delebarre, President of the EU Committee of the Regions, launch OPEN DAYS, the European Week of Regions and Cities, on 8 October in Brussels. The event runs from 8 to 11 October and involves a record 212 regions and cities from 33 countries. Organised by the EU Committee of the Regions and the European Commission, this fifth edition of OPEN DAYS brings together local, regional, national and EU politicians and decision-makers, policy experts and representatives of business, banking and civil society organisations. The seminars this year will focus on the new regional programmes for 2007-2013. The headline is: 'Making it happen: regions and cities deliver growth and jobs'.
Commissioner Hübner said: "As in previous years, OPEN DAYS bring together a unique blend of EU, national, regional and local experts to discuss regional development issues, to come up with new ideas and to see if and how we can improve delivery of the EU's cohesion policy. I'm looking forward to this inspiring opportunity to meet regional policy experts and practitioners to find out how we can best reach our aims of raising living standards throughout the EU's regions and cities."
Committee of the Regions President Michel Delebarre, Mayor and MP for Dunkerque (France) added: "Since OPEN DAYS were introduced in 2003, they have become a unique platform in Europe for communication, discussion and networking among regions and players in the field of regional and cohesion policy. Let’s make it happen in regions that are not only more competitive but more supportive of each other, where we can create opportunities for action both for public authorities and the private sector."
This year's OPEN DAYS event coincides with the launch all around Europe of new seven-year regional operational programmes which represent an investment of nearly € 500 billion from the public and the private sectors. The four-day event will provide up to 5000 participants with an opportunity to learn from other regional strategies, past experiences and future programming objectives.
For the first time, the event will feature the international dimension of regional policy, with Ministers and regional representatives from China, Russia and Brazil taking part, as well as experts from other non-EU countries and international bodies. In addition to the Brussels programme, local and regional authorities are holding about 100 local OPEN DAYS events in their own countries throughout October.
The Committee of the Regions will once again host the Investors' Café, launched last year. This brings together public and private partners in seven thematic 'villages', covering transport, energy, environment, knowledge society, health, research and innovation, and financial engineering.
Notes for editors:
Opening Session: Commissioner Hübner and Committee of the Regions president Michel Delebarre will be joined at the opening ceremony on 8 October by Francisco Nunes Correia, Portugal's Minister for Environment and Regional Development, representing the Presidency of the EU, Philippe Maystadt, President of the European Investment Bank, Raphaël Alomar, Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank, Ernest-Antoine Seillière, President of BUSINESSEUROPE, and Jozef Niemiec, Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.
Closing Session: At the European Parliament in Brussels on 11
October, the final session will focus on the future of regional policy in the
context of globalisation, climate change and demographic trends. Professor
Michael Spence, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics, will
deliver the keynote speech. Commissioner Hübner, Committee of the
Regions President Delebarre and Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portugal's
Secretary of State for European Affairs, will also contribute, together with
Ferdinando ‘Nani’ Beccalli-Falco, President and CEO of
General Electric International, and former Regional Policy Commissioner
Monika Wulf-Mathies, Executive Vice President, Corporate Public Policy
and Sustainability, of Deutsche Post World Net. Hans-Gert Pöttering,
President of the European Parliament, will conclude this session.