Brussels, 14 June 2012
Commission awards innovative EU-funded projects with 2012 RegioStars
Innovative and inspirational projects from Sweden, Poland, Austria, and two transnational partnerships will tonight take centre stage in Europe as Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, presents the RegioStars 2012 Awards. Together with the President of the Jury, Luc van den Brande, Commissioner Hahn will award five prize categories for good practice in regional development to projects with EU co-investment.
Commissioner Hahn commented: "We repeatedly stress the importance of investing in dynamic and innovative sectors, like research and development infrastructure and energy-efficiency, so Europe can keep making the difference in a more and more globalised economy. This year's winners are model projects in low-carbon economy, climate change adaptation and combating marginalisation, all with the aim of improving the quality of citizens' lives. I am proud to say that every one of these projects is leading the way in realising our common Europe2020 goals.'''
President of the Jury and former President of the Committee of the Regions, Luc van den Brande added: "To choose the winning projects among so many outstanding entries required some serious probing and generated much discussion. Looking at the individual merit, added value and impact of these projects, the jury felt that every finalist was a winner, but these five particularly shone through".
All EU regions were invited to submit projects which had received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) or the Cohesion Fund after 1st January 2000. In the current 5th round of Awards, the European Commission received a record 107 applications, of which 24 were chosen as finalists. The five Award categories for 2012 are:
Smart Growth: Innovative projects or schemes supporting service innovation in its different forms.
Sustainable Growth: Investments in ecosystem services and green infrastructure leading to sustainable regional development.
Inclusive Growth: Strategies, initiatives or projects addressing the challenge of demographic change and supporting active ageing. (2012 is the "European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations")
CityStar Category: Integrated strategies for the development of deprived urban areas.
Information and Communication Category: Informing the public on the internet about projects benefiting from EU Regional policy.
Tonight's ceremony will take place at the Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels. It is part of the annual 'Regions for Economic Change' conference providing an opportunity for politicians and practitioners from Europe's regions to discuss key themes around European cohesion policy and showcase projects funded by EU regional funds.
Category 1: Smart Growth - Eco World Styria
The mission of ECO WORLD STYRIA has been to increase the concentration of successful clean technology (cleantech) companies in the Austrian region of Styria and to ensure that this cluster becomes a competitive location worldwide for cleantech innovators. Since the beginning of the project, eco-innovation has generated 5 000 new jobs, increasing company staff on average by over 10 % per year.
Category 2: Sustainable Growth - GRaBS ('Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco-towns') - European Territorial Cooperation (ETC)
The GRaBS project has 14 partners, drawn from eight member states (AT, EL, IT, LT, NL, SE, SK and UK), representing authorities facing a wide range of climate change challenges. GRaBS sets out to provide the tools and knowledge to ensure that urban development across Europe, both existing and new, is suitably adapted to the impacts of climate change.
Category 3: Inclusive Growth - 'Older people for Older people' (O4O) - ETC
Working with groups of older people in rural communities in Europe's northern periphery, (in Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Northern Ireland and Greenland) O4O has capitalised on the collective skills, experience and knowledge of a generation to identify the priorities for support services and activities, putting older people at the centre of policy-making.
Category 4: CityStar
The SÖM project set out to create a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable environment in four districts of South East Malmö, particularly affected by unemployment and dependency on social benefits. The long-term effect of the project has been the creation of a strategic partnership and the development of an action plan for the area and the city as a whole. It has increased the participation of citizens, private actors, property owners and the commercial and industrial world in efforts for future city development.
Category 5: Informing the public
The Podlaskie region of Poland's website – www.podlaskiedotacje.pl – in both Polish and English, is one of the most important tools in its communication strategy It presents comprehensive, detailed information on EU investments (including presentations, photos, and maps showing the investment location) and programme beneficiaries. It allows quick and efficient searches and helps to promote EU programmes and investment to various audience groups. The website provides user-friendly tools to view the effects and implementation status of projects, presenting examples of good practice that have significantly contributed to the region's growth.
For more information:
Video footage and portraits of the winning projects will be on EbS on 14th June
Ton Van Lierop (+32 2 296 65 65)
Annemarie Huber (+32 2 299 33 10)