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Brussels, 7 March 2007

Danuta Hübner opened "Regions for Economic Change" first annual conference, in Brussels

Regional policy Commissioner, Danuta Hübner, opened today in Brussels the conference “Fostering competitiveness through innovative technologies, products and healthy communities". This is the first of the annual conferences under the 'Regions for Economic Change' initiative. The Commissioner, followed by Mr Philippe de Buck, Secretary General of BusinessEurope welcomed more than 500 conference participants from around 30 countries who will discuss how to best use the new Cohesion policy investment to create more growth and quality jobs. The conference, which takes place today and tomorrow, is organised by the European Commission in partnership with the Committee of Regions and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA region in France). Commission Vice-president Günter Verheugen, Committee of Regions President Michel Delebarre, and President of the PACA region Michel Vauzelle, shall also address the conference. The new "Inforegio" website, a brochure on the conference, and a new publication explaining the new Cohesion policy 2007-2013 have been launched to coincide with the opening of the event.

Bringing Europe's regions together, promoting the exchange of experiences and good practices and building on them can give us all a more promising future”, said Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner today opening the conference. The Commissioner added: "There is no contradiction between the title of the conference 'Fostering competitiveness' and the principles of cooperation and partnership we advocate. Modern economics teaches us that whenever resources are scarce there are competitive pressures to cooperate as there is an important correlation between trust and economic success."

Danuta Hübner noted that an estimated €200 billion of the €350 billion allocated to regional policy EU funding for 2007-2013 is targeted at the type of investments that were singled out in Lisbon Strategy as pivotal of bringing the European economy the needed comparative advantages. More than 10% of the total amount - €40 billion - will be invested specifically in innovation and R&D.

The conference is the first of the annual conferences proposed under the 'Regions for Economic Change' initiative and it aims at improving communication and the dissemination of the impact of regional policy. Funding of € 375 mio for networking and learning activities will be specifically provided under the future Interregional cooperation and Urbact programmes, whose predecessors have already provided a wealth of experience to the regions of Europe.


A new, more user-friendly Regional Policy 'Inforegio' website ( and two new publications have also become available to coincide with the Conference. The new website offers updated information on the new Cohesion policy 2007-2013, illustrated with new case studies and examples of the best use of EU investment for the modernisation of the regions. A new brochure on the conference presents the initiative "Regions for Economic Change" and its context as regards innovation performance of EU regions, and a new publication presents Cohesion Policy 2007-2013, its regulatory framework, charts and maps, and a very useful comparison with the previous programming period.

The Commission proposals for strengthening the exchange of good practices in the context of interregional cooperation during the period 2007-2013 were set out in Communication (2006) 675 of 8 November 2006 "Regions for Economic Change".

Further information on regional policy available at:

Further information about the initiative “Regions for economic change" is available at:

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