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«PROCEEDINGS Going local: Europe in my regions /Austria/ Graz – Klagenfurt – Linz - St Poelten /Belgium/ Brussels-Capital – Eupen – Leuven – ...»

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Europe in my region

October 2008


Going local:

Europe in my regions

/Austria/ Graz – Klagenfurt – Linz - St Poelten /Belgium/

Brussels-Capital – Eupen – Leuven – Liège /Bosnia-Herzegovina/

Sarajevo /Bulgaria/ Bourgas – Plovdiv - Sofia - Stara Zagora

/Croatia/ Osijek – Rijeka /Cyprus/ Nicosia /Czech Republic/

České Budějovice - Olomouc - Ostrava – Plzeň - Prague - Ústí nad

Labem – Zlín / Denmark/ Herning – Sandjeford – Soro /Estonia/ Ta l l i n n / F i n l a n d / J o e n s u u – L a ht i - S avo n l i n n a - S e i n ä j o k i - Ta m p e r e -To r n i o – Tu r k u / F r a n c e / A m i e n s – A r c o n s a t - B a y o n n e – Bordeaux – Brioude – Caen - Dunkerque - Houplin-Ancoisne - Limoges – Marseille - Metz - Montpellier - Nantes – Orléans – Pa r i s - Po i t i e r s - R e n n e s – R o u a n – S t. M a l o - To u l o u s e - Vi l l e n e u v e d 'A s c q / G e r m a n y / B e r l i n - D re s d e n - G ö t t i n g e n – H a m b u rg – Hoppstädten-Weiersbach - Magdeburg - Potsdam - Stuttgar t - Tö n n i n g – Wi e t o w / G r e e c e / A l e x a n d o u p o l i s – A t h e n s – H e r a k l i o n – Larissa - Pirgos /Hungar y/ Budapest - Hajdúszoboszló - Pécs – Szombathely /Iceland/ Bifröst /I r e l a n d / Clonakilty – Dublin - West Cork - Carrick-on-Shannon /Italy/ Ancona - Aosta - Bari – Bologna – Bolzano - Catania – Firenze - Frosinone – Genova - Isola di Capo R i z z u t o - M a t e r a - M i l a n o – P i s a – R o m a - Te r a m o - To r i n o – Tre nto - U d i n e – U m b r i a – Ve n ez i a / L a t v i a / J e l g ava – R i g a /L i t h u a n i a / Kaunas – Vilnius /M a l t a / Gozo – Valetta /T h e Netherlands/ Almere – Eindhoven - Groningen – Hengelo - Lelystad - Maastricht – Middelburg - Nijmegen - 's-Hertogenbosch

- The Hague – Hasselt (BE) / Norway/ Ålesund – Engøyholmen – S k i e n – To r n i o – Tro n d h e i m / P o l a n d / B yd g o s z c z - G d a ń s k - Katowice – Kraków - Lodz – Lublin - Olsztyn - Opole - Poznan - Suwalki - Szczecin - Warsaw - Wrocław - Zielona Góra /Po r t u g a l / Evora – Lisboa - Miranda do Corvo – Olhão – Porto – Vila do Porto (Açores) – Funchal-Madeira /Romania/ Baia Mare - Focsani - O r a d e a - R e s i t a - Ta rg u -J i u – Tu l c e a / S l o v a k i a / B r at i s l ava - Ko s i c e

- N i t ra - Pre s ov - Tre n c i n – Z i l i n a / S l o v e n i a / L i t i j a – M a r i b o r /Spain/ Barcelona - Bilbao - Bourgos – Cádiz - Don Benito – Ferrol – Gijón - Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Madrid – Mérida - Murcia – Pa l m a d e M a l l o rc a - Pa m p l o n a – S a n t a n d e r - To l e d o – Va l e n c i a – Valladolid /S we d e n / Göteborg - Härnösand – Linköping – Lindigö - M a l m ö – Ö s t e r s u n d - R ä t t v i k - S u n d s v a l l – To r n i o / T u r k e y / Istanb

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I. Introduction

2. Proceedings per country







Czech Republic














The Netherlands










United Kingdom

3. Conclusions

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The sixth OPEN DAYS - European Week of Regions and Cities, the flagship event of European regional policy, took place in Brussels from 6 to 9 October 2008. The result of inter-institutional cooperation between the Committee of the Regions, the European Commission represented by the Directorate for Regional Policy and eight other directorates-general, the European Parliament, the French presidency of the European Union and the European Economic and Social Committee, the OPEN DAYS are both an economic forum and a wide-ranging communication platform bringing together regional, political, economic and financial partners in the course of 150 workshops, seminars, meetings and other exhibitions.

Following on from the Brussels programme, 221 local 'Europe in my region' events took place in October throughout Europe and beyond – Norway, Iceland, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey. The events were organised by regional and local authorities which are partners of the OPEN DAYS with the support of the Europe Direct network and the Commission's permanent representations in the Member States, and the selection of format and current issues were both varied and interesting.

Press conferences, forums, exhibitions and workshops, together with festivals, cultural and sports activities, road shows and radio programmes were all opportunities to encourage discussion by local and grassroots-level stakeholders, NGOS, teachers and the general public on major European issues such as the 2008 Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the White Paper on Climate change, the Directive on the Maritime strategy and the future of cohesion policy.

These local events were geographically distributed as follows: Italy (22), United Kingdom (21), France (21), Spain (21), Poland (17); Netherlands (11); Sweden (10); Germany (10); Romania (8); the Czech Republic (7); Finland (7); Portugal (7); Slovakia (6); Greece (5); Hungary (5); Ireland (5); Austria (4);

Belgium (4); Bulgaria (4); Denmark (3); Latvia (3); Estonia (2); Lithuania (2); Slovenia (2); Cyprus (2);

Malta (2). Countries which do not belong to the European Union are also taking part: Bosnia and Herzegovina (1); Croatia (2); Iceland (1); Norway (5); and Turkey (1).

Through these local events, the regions and cities of Europe play an active part in enhancing constructive dialogue between citizens and EU institutions, raising public awareness and exchanging good practice. By bringing these events to public attention, the local media further highlight the key role of the grassroots level in promoting the development of a real sense of being European.

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AUSTRIA In October 2008 Austria hosted two conferences and two information campaigns/discussions centred on the importance of maximising European partnerships in the field of renewable energy (Klagenfurt) and sustainable transport (Graz). In St Poelten a focus was made on the creative industries and the role of education and schools in this matter; European achievements in this field were also described. Finally, the city of Linz welcomed the former, current and future European capitals of culture to exchange experiences and best practice. These four events brought together high-level politicians, members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission (DG Energy and Transport), business people from small and medium-sized companies, environmental associations, students, interested members of the public, and the media.

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'Creative Industries – Contribution of Lower Austria for a European way to innovative regions' 1 October 2008, 10:00 – 12:00 Organisers: Regional Management Lower Austria – Offices of Mostviertel and Waldviertel;

EuropeDirect Lower Austria Speakers: Mag. Johann HEURAS, Mayor and member of the regional parliament Mag. Barry John HEWSON, New Design University St. Pölten Karl HEIGL, Charly International Trading GmbH Participants: Mag.Ursula POINDL and Karl G. BECKER (presenters), students, teachers, mayors, entrepreneurs, local disseminators


The event was opened by Mag. HEURAS, who pointed out all the efforts of the province of Lower Austria to strengthen innovative activities in various fields. Mag. HEWSON showed an excellent PP-presentation on former innovative personalities and the future of creative and innovative activities, especially of the New Design University St. Pölten. Karl HEIGL presented creative and innovative work in his company, where textile goods are manufactured. After these presentations three panel debates on different subjects dealing with 'Creative Industries' with 5 to 8 persons each were managed by the two presenters.

Conclusions Interesting presentations and informal panel debates Useful information especially for students to get ideas on further training and future jobs 'Close cooperation between schools, universities, local and regional authorities in creating a good basis for creative activities.'

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BELGIUM The four local events celebrated in Belgium highlighted the role of the regions in Europe. A lecture underlined the importance of Brussels and of the lobbying work vis-à-vis the EU institutions, while exhibitions and receptions were also held between Belgians and their European neighbours or partners in European regional networks. These events enabled students, local and foreign authorities and the general public to share their common interest in the growing European spirit.

Enclosed, the report of the local events held in Brussels, 14/10/2008;

Eupen, 17/10-14/11/2008; and Liège, 7/10/2008.

Brussels Capital Region- Brussels 'Brussels: a regional player in Europe' 24 October 2008, 9:30 – 12:00 Organisers: Ministry of Brussels-Capital Region – VUB Speakers: Pascal GOERGEN, Brussels Delegate in the Permanent Representation Belgium to the European Union Mandip TAUNQUE, West Midlands in Europe Office Pacal LEFÈVRE, Institutional Issues Unit of the European Commission Participants: University Students: VUB – Université St.-Louis


During the lecture, 'speakers with field experience' - discussed the role of the regions in Europe and the interest of the EU in the regions. Particular attention was paid to the place and role of the Brussels-Capital Region as one of the regional actors. Due to its institutional situation, Belgium has a specific arrangement regarding the participation of its 3 regions in the Council of the European Union as well as in the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union. The Brussels representative, Pascal GOERGEN, commented on his specific role and tasks within this framework.

Mandip TAUNQUE, business advisor of West Midlands in Europe, explained why his region decided to establish a representative office in Brussels. He also explained how and why representations are lobbying the European institutions. Finally, Pascal LEFÈVRE from the Institutional Issues Unit of the European Commission discussed the role of the regions in the Lisbon Treaty.


Due to its situation and structure, the Brussels-Capital Region wanted to draw the attention of the students that regions are crucial partners in the European scene.

Regions have become important players within the institutional structure of the European Union.

When the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified, the importance of the regions will increase even further.

None-the-less, it remains of the utmost importance for the Regions to make their voice constantly heard and to defend their interests. Opening a regional office in Brussels and lobbying through it is an outstanding way to do so.

Amongst the 250 regions that are present in the Capital of Europe, the Brussels-Capital Region itself is an important and active player. Several intra-Belgian arrangements support its position.

More information www.brussels.irisnet.be 'Brussels is the warm regional heart of Europe.'

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'Our neighbors in Europe – Poland' 17 October – 14 November 2008, (concert 4.11.2008) Organisers: Europe Direct Informationsrelais der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, Polish Embassy Speakers: Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, Ministerpräsident S awomir CZARLEWSKI, Ambassador of Poland in Belgium Participants: General public


The Europe Direct information relay in the German Speaking Community organised a local event called 'Our neighbors in Europe – Poland'. The aim was to bring together rural population and population of new member states to strengthen the mutual understanding of different cultures and traditions and to reinforce the feeling of belonging to a transnational structure, the European Union.

With exhibitions and evenings focused on how the European neighbours live and feel their affiliation to the Union the Information relay tries a practical approach. There were two exhibitions organised, one on Polish posters culture and a touristic exhibition about the City of Gdansk. On 4th November a concert.

Was organised The evening was opened by welcome speeches of the minister-president of the Government of the German speaking Community and the Ambassador of Poland in Belgium.


Presenting the European neighbours is one way to promote mutual understanding and to avoid misunderstandings and prejudices. Culture is one of the best instruments. It approaches citizens, brings them closer together and helps building a European Union from bottom up. The exhibitions and the evening were successful, some 200 persons participated.

'Cultural exchange is a very important means of deepening understanding of neighborhood and common European values.'

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