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Brussels, 22 February 2008

Sharing excellence: Regional stakeholders gather in Brussels for two-day exchange of ideas on sustainable development, competitiveness

Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, will on Monday welcome over 600 participants to a conference in Brussels entitled: 'Regions for Economic Change - Sharing excellence'. Co-organised with the Committee of the Regions, the two-day event will give participants from regions all over the EU the opportunity to learn from one another. They will share ideas on how best to support sustainable development and promote competitiveness through EU regional policy instruments.

'Innovation requires an open mind, and I am glad this event has attracted so many of them. Even if European regions have evolved in many different contexts, we must work together and share our experiences, both good and bad, so that we can learn from them. The next step is to apply what we have learned. I look forward to seeing the results,' Commissioner Hübner said.

The conference

The two-day conference, with its nine workshops, will showcase strategies, experiences and projects which can help managing authorities responsible for Structural Funds in the Member States to apply good ideas in their projects. One workshop will, for instance, reflect on how to adapt traditional industries and their workers to meet the challenges of globalisation. Another session will focus on lessons from 'Clusters Linked Over Europe', an EU-funded network to help regions to exchange experience about successful clusters.

Sustainable modes of transport are also featured. Several countries will report on their experiences under the "CIVITAS" initiative, which aims to ensure the rapid deployment and take-off of clean urban transport systems in the EU.

The Slovenian Presidency of the European Union will be represented by Mr Ivan Zagar, Minister for Local Self-Government and Regional Policy, and by Mr Žiga Turk, Minister for Development and Growth. Mr Andries Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy, will address the conference on 26 February.

Regions for Economic Change

The conference is part of a series entitled: 'Regions for Economic Change', launched by the European Commission in November 2006. The aim of this initiative is to enable experience and good practice on innovation in Europe's regions to be shared as widely as possible, and exploited fully to promote competitiveness, growth and job creation.

During the period 2007-2013, funding of € 375 million for networking and learning activities will be provided under the "Interregional cooperation IVC" and "Urbact II" programmes. The first calls for projects are now closed, and selection procedures are under way.

2008 RegioStars Awards Ceremony

The first RegioStars Awards for innovative projects will be announced on Monday evening. EU regions were last year invited to submit their most innovative projects in regional development. The aim is to highlight original projects and good practice as inspiration for other regions.

For further information on the conference:

All initiative, events under the banner "regions for economic change" can be found on a specific website which also contains case studies and good practice projects funded by Cohesion policy during the 2000-2006 period:

Further information on Interreg IVC programme:

Further information on URBACT II programme:

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