Once again, Euroalert has taken part at the Open Days 2011, the European week of Regions and Cities, and our experience, once again, has been very positive. The 9th edition of the Open Days has been a great success that has served to bring together experts and participants from across Europe. The 100 workshops organised with around 6000 participants were aimed at discussing many topics with a single goal, discussing how regions and cities can achieve sustainable growth and thus, help the EU out of the current crisis that we face. At the workshops, we heard ideas to achieve such goal, for example the creation of clusters with public-private funding (PPP) such as the one conducted by Castilla y León (Spain) to make real the “e-vehicle”. With this initiative, Castilla y León proposes a measure to improve the economy without forgetting the respect for the environment. In addition, many wondered at seminars how it would be possible getting out the European regions and cities of the crisis in compliance with this objective, i.e., how to create a truly sustainable economy and not just from an environmental point of view. Another idea heard at the Open Days was the creation of Euroregions, such as the Baltic Sea Euroregion or Pyrenees Mediterranean Euroregion. They consist in associations between border regions to get assistance to citizens more effectively. The associations are determined by the rule of the 150 km adopted by the European Commission, which means that partnerships can be formed only within an area of 150 km. Regional and local authorities do not agreed with this limit and asked the Commission representative during the workshop to remove such rule.
The shadow of the economic crisis has been very present throughout the week. Euroalert had the opportunity to ask the President of the Committee of the Regions herself, Mercedes Bresso, how the European Commission can help in the next budgetary period to the regions and cities at getting out of the current crisis. Ms Bresso recognized that the proposal of the Commission for the budget period 2014-2020 is quite good and defended the temporary creation of the intermediate regions concept. With the creation of this new category, she does not mean that more European funds will be granted to the regions; only an efficient way to distribute them. We thank to the president her kindness for making possible this interview.
In addition to attending a few seminars, Euroalert also had time to tweet the Open Days through the official event hashtag #euopendays, and thus, help you to watch live this great celebration of the regions and cities. Unfortunately there were not many "tweeters" telling what was happening at the Open Days, especially to find out what was being said within the workshops that we could not attend because an overlapping of the schedules. In any case, as in previous years, we thank you for your follow-up and also for the conversations we had in live via Twitter.
We hope you enjoyed our information through our news and tweets, and please, keep reading us in the coming days because Euroalert will tell you more about the topics discussed during the Open Days, such as the workshop on the future of micro-credit, the workshop on how to communicate regional policy today and after 2013 or the workshop how to perform better evaluations of structural funds expenditure by the regions.