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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 4 October 2013

OPEN DAYS: Europe’s Regions and Cities Taking Off for 2020 and investing in growth

More than 5,500 regional and urban representatives from across Europe will be sharing views and approaches on how the next generation of investments under EU regional policy can get Europe back on the path to growth, creating jobs and boosting competitiveness.

The 11th annual ‘OPEN DAYS – European week of regions and cities’ will be held from 7-10 October in Brussels. The four-day event which is the largest of its kind, will bring together policymakers, politicians and experts to debate the key issues facing EU Regional Policy today. It comes as fundamental reforms to the policy are finalised and planning for the 2014-20 programmes reach a critical phase. Hosted by Johannes Hahn EU Commissioner for Regional Policy and Ramón Luis Valcárcel, President of Committee of the Regions, the event will be opened by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The opening session will include a panel debate on the central role of EU Regional Policy in propelling Europe's recovery and growth.

Speaking ahead of the event, Commissioner Hahn commented: "This year’s OPEN DAYS is the launching pad for how we invest and plan our funds over the next seven years. OPEN DAYS 2013 comes at a decisive moment for EU Regional Policy. Negotiations on the reform of the Policy are at a final phase, while regions are working very closely with Commission services to prepare the ground and present their strategies for the next generation of programmes. Our new, reformed Policy offers the regions a real opportunity to invest in future growth and prosperity. This is about targeting investment priorities but at the same time building on the individual strengths of our cities and regions. I look forward to our discussion on how Regional Policy can help transform our cities and regions, making them more competitive, generating growth and creating jobs."

Committee of the Regions President Valcárcel added: "A reformed cohesion policy is taking off and is called to provide as soon as possible effective tools to support recovery and boost employment. Regions and local authorities are undertaking a race against the time to ensure that 2014-2020 investment plans will start being implemented over the coming year. The Committee of the Regions is fully committed to help regions in winning this race while granting the highest quality of projects and strategies. In this perspective, 2013 OPEN DAYS will be a crucial opportunity for regional policy key players to familiarise with the new tools and rules, as well as to share the best ideas to deliver growth in our regions."

OPEN DAYS goes under the slogan 'Europe's regions and cities taking off for 2020' this year, with 100 workshops focusing on the following themes:

  • Managing change 2014-2020: innovative approaches to fulfilling future investment priorities, (e.g. integrated territorial investment, the joint action plans, governance issues, financial instruments, etc.).

  • Synergies and cooperation: between different EU, national and regional policies and combining different sources of funding. Various approaches to cooperation will be examined, such as macro-regional strategies, or between national, regional and city administrations and expert institutions.

  • Challenges and solutions: The common challenges facing Europe’s regional and urban areas are assessed with practical solutions proposed, e.g.: SMEs' access to credit and to the global markets, youth unemployment, demographic challenges, waste, water and natural risks management, congestion, pollution or high energy consumption.

Highlights of the programme

President Valcárcel and Commissioner Hahn will host a press roundtable on October 7th at 13:30 in the Committee of the Regions.

19 finalists competing in four categories for the 2014 RegioStars Awards are showcased during a full day workshop in the Charlemagne building, Brussels.

Presentation of ‘Quality of life in European Cities’ - Key findings of Survey of 41,000 citizens from 79 cities give views on urban life: Tuesday 8th October, 16:30 – 17:15 in the Berlaymont, Schuman room.

100 EUrban solutions’ outdoor exhibition inaugurated by Commissioner Hahn and Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region at 17:30 on Tuesday 8th at Place Jean Rey, Brussels and several networking events taking place in the evening of 8 October in other 12 venues across the exhibition route.

The winners of the 2014 “Europe in my region” photo competition, from Greece, Hungary and Malta will be presented with their prizes by Commissioner Hahn on Wednesday 9th at 11:15 in the Charlemagne building.

New at OPEN DAYS this year is a Master Class for 77 selected PhD students and early career researchers in the field of regional and urban policy.

Alongside the Brussels seminars, over 300 events under banner ‘Europe in my region/ city’ are being held until December 2013.

More information:

@EU_Regional / @EU_CoR / @JHahnEU: #euopendays - All photos on Flickr

Media programme

Partner Regions by country

Contacts :

Shirin Wheeler (+32 2 296 65 65)

Annemarie Huber (+32 2 299 33 10)

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