Reflection by Europe’s regions on the model for an urban fabric

The 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities is being organised by the Committee of the Regions in cooperation with the City of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark to be held on 22–23 March 2012.

Chosen as a location with an environment known for the high quality of life, architectural achievements, accomplishments in sustainable development and social cohesion, the Summit will offer an opportunity to reflect on an appropriate model under the title The European urban fabric in the 21st century.

As with previous editions, mayors of cities and presidents of regions are invited to voice their views on the many challenges they face and to present some of their practical solutions and innovative approaches during the debates in various workshops and the accompanying exhibition Beautiful, green, smart and inclusive: colourful cities.

The debates will look into how urban and multilevel governance of EU policies and strategies could be further developed in the years to come with the aim of demonstrating the key role of cities and regions in designing and implementing sustainable models of development.

Several weeks ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”), the Committee of the Regions in Brussels is seeking to showcase best local and regional practices, as well as a strong political commitment to the issues concerning urban development.

The aim is for the conference to have a significant impact on the EU’s position at the UN conference in Rio during the first week of June 2012.

This follows the CoR’s 9th OPEN DAYS, Investing in Europe’s future: Regions and cities delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, which was held in October 2011.

The event addressed the debate on the European Commission’s legislative proposals for cohesion policy post-2013 and the budget debate in the Council and the European Parliament about size, duration and priorities of the forthcoming Multi-annual Financial Framework.

This happened against the backdrop of continued efforts at all levels of governance to exit the financial and economic crisis and the 2nd year of implementation of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy. The latter influencing the meeting’s discussions about the objectives of the new generation of cohesion policy programmes.

From a funding perspective, it is important to note that The Commission has decided that Europe’s regions and cities will play a major role in the discussions on the above-mentioned issues, and that their input with regard to a more efficient delivery of cohesion policy will be particularly valuable.

As such, the event was structured around three thematic priorities: Europe 2020, Better Delivery, and Geography Matters, providing a platform for good practice showcasing results and projects from the ‘Convergence’, ‘Regional Competitiveness and Employment’, and ‘Territorial Cooperation’ Programmes.

Policy development promoting access to the knowledge economy

In February 2011, Searchlighter was identified as a subcontractor in a project application made to the INTERREG IVC Programme as supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

INTERREG IVC is part of the European Territorial Co-operation Objective of the Structural Fund policies for the period 2007-2013. The priority chosen by this project among the objectives of the INTERREG IVC programme, with its focus on interregional co-operation, is to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies in the areas of innovation and the knowledge economy, as well as to contribute to the economic
modernisation and increased competitiveness of Europe.

The exchange, sharing and transfer of policy experience, knowledge and good practices will contribute to achieving this objective. By promoting Europe-wide cooperation, INTERREG IVC encourages regional and local authorities to view interregional cooperation as a means of enhancing their development through learning from the experiences of others. This way, the successful experiences gained in the different regions can spread throughout Europe.

Within the priority chosen by the project, a sub-theme covering employment, human capital and education was the focus of the application, finding solutions to social and economic exclusion from the knowledge economy and how good policy practice applying practical solutions might overcome this.

With public authority partners coming from Italy, Estonia, Spain, France and Hungary, the result of the application should be known in June 2011.