Brussels, 29 November 2007
Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, will today in Brasilia sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Brazilian Ministry of National Integration to set up a structured dialogue on regional policy. At the invitation of Mr Geddel Vieira Lima, Minister of National Integration, she will also open an EU-Brazil seminar on regional policy.
Commenting ahead of the signature, Commissioner Danuta Hübner said: 'With this regional policy dialogue, we recognise that we share interests, ideals and aspirations; and that we face common challenges in balanced regional development. We are eager to learn from Brazil's experience. On our side, we would like to explain how Europe currently focuses on innovation in its regional policy, and how it has established partnerships with local and regional authorities to implement the policy. We will also share information on the tools we have successfully developed to foster cross-border cooperation.'
As a starting point for cooperation, Danuta Hübner today opens a seminar entitled: "EU-Brazil seminar on regional policies" in Brasilia. This is an opportunity for an exchange of experience and best practices. Experts from the European Commission, Spain and Portugal will brief Brazilian regional actors on the impact that European cohesion policy has had in their respective countries. The participants will also tackle other common challenges such as: urban-rural disparities, developments in the energy market, climate change and demographic challenges.
Following the seminar, the Commissioner will travel to Petrolina in the Northeast region, an important development centre. She will visit VALEXPORT, a private cooperative of local fruit producers who export grapes, mangoes and bananas. She will also see EMBRAPA, the Brazilian research centre on agriculture and cattle, one of the country's main centres for genetic research.
The Commissioner will also speak on EU regional policy and innovation at a seminar in Recife, entitled Forum Brasil Europa, organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Notes for editors
By launching co-operation with Brazil on regional policy, the Commission is following up on the commitment made in its Communication entitled: 'Towards an EU-Brazil Strategic partnership' (May 2007), in which regional policy was identified as a key area on which both sides can share information and experience. Brazil is facing sharp regional development disparities between the North and the more developed South. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the European Commission and the Brazilian Ministry of National Integration, initiates cooperation such as:
In February 2007, Brazil launched its National Policy for Regional Development, now formulated as a federal government policy. Brazil plans to create a National Fund for Regional Development, similar to the European Regional Development Fund.
In Brazil, the ratio between the richest and the poorest States is 1 to 9, it is very close to the EU ratio: 1 to 7.6 (GDP per head in Luxembourg and Bulgaria).
The European Commission has signed Memoranda of Understanding on regional
policy cooperation with China in 2006, and with Russia last May. The ambition is
to set up global cooperation networks in the field of regional policy.
On EU-Brazil cooperation, see IP/07/25