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OPEN DAYS 2007 begins

By Redazione

‘The OPEN DAYS is a unique success story which proves the added value and potential of EU cohesion policy; it is perhaps the best illustration of another catchword of the new policy, which is
partnership and co-operation,’ said Danuta Hubner, the European Commissioner responsible for Regional Policy at the launch of the 5th OPEN DAYS-European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels.

Bringing together over 5,000 regional policy experts and practitioners over three days, the event will see 100 regions, cities and other institutions and private partners from all over Europe
gather in Brussels to debate the changes and new developments facing regions and cities.

Under the headline ‘Making it happen: regions deliver growth and jobs’, about 150 workshops and sessions will focus on the new generation of cohesion policy programmes, which will be
implemented in the course of 2007 across Europe’s regions.

The new cohesion policy, with its focus on growth and jobs, the key drivers of the Lisbon Agenda, was the focus of the Commissioner’s opening speech. ‘The new cohesion policy is not intended to
operate through a number of isolated sectoral programmes, such as transport, environment or research and development. To the contrary, it has been designed on the basis of an integrated
approach to regional development whereby the ultimate criterion is its impact on growth, competitiveness and jobs,’ she said.

Whilst congratulating the Member States on their past successes in achieving the ‘earmarking’ thresholds targets of the new approach, the Commissioner urged all stakeholders to prepare for the
longer term by discussing emerging challenges and their consequences for the future of cohesion policy.

‘The role of the European cohesion policy must increasingly focus on regional economies finding their place in world markets, in crucial global networks and clusters; allowing them to measure
their strengths and weaknesses against global challenges and opportunities and fostering their internationalisation,’ said Mrs Hubner.

‘We need cohesion policy in which the “catching-up” of the less developed with the better off regions depends on jointly moving forward in an increasingly globalised and open economy. It is a
vision that stresses opportunities for the future by generating new comparative advantages which are today man made, by mobilising underexploited potential, rather than compensating for the
problems of the past,’ she added.

Furthermore, according to the conclusions of the 4th Cohesion Forum, there is a necessity to make the policy more performance based; to further improve governance structures involving European,
national, regional and local levels; finally, to give the notion of territorial cohesion a new and coherent policy framework.

So as policy recommendations cannot be developed only by politicians, the Commissioner concluded by urging all stakeholders to use the OPEN DAYS 2007 to air their views and voice their opinions
on the main challenges facing their regions and cities, the advantages which should allow them to stay competitive in the 21st century and what is needed to make full use of these advantages.

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