Adopted by the AER Executive Board, Bodø, 22 June 2016
The AER Toolkit gathers information about what AER offer, our services to our members and partners. Together with the four other components of the coherent AER Strategy – Planning, Member relations, Communications and Human resources – it aims at setting the stage to ensure that the mission and objectives of AER are implemented effectively.
AER’s mission is:
- To be the voice of the regions of Europe
AER’s core objectives are:
- Promoting regional interests in Europe and beyond;
- Fostering interregional cooperation to promote the exchange of experience and the development of regional policy.
AER believes in the following values:
- Democracy and transparency – two totally complementary and inseparable values: AER will act transparently to focus on defending the interests of all member regions while respecting democratic principles.
- Fairness and solidarity – the root of mutual respect and acceptance of cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic differences: AER advocates solidarity between all regions of Europe, while urging fairness as a source of cohesion between member regions and promoting equal opportunities for all.
- Openness and dialogue: AER is open to all European regions and their elected representatives, men and women alike, from all non-extremist political movements. AER promotes dialogue and dares to confront ideas;
- Boldness and effectiveness: AER seeks to stimulate creativity and encourage political debate, and aims to transform the regions via forward-looking projects.
These are the tools available and used at AER, allowing for the Executive Board to determine how to put in action and promote the AER Work programme and the AER Political priorities of a given cycle through concrete activities, projects and methods.
The tools cover – often overlapping – four main areas:
Informing & Exchanging AER aims at helping its members and partners implement policy actions in various fields by first and foremost informing them on the options and methods available to them. Our members and partners are encouraged to exchange regional stories and best practices.
Advocacy & Networking AER uses its wide network to advocate in favour of regional causes, making sure that regions and their voice are heard at the right time, at the right place and by the right people. Networking is also an effective tool to spread the news on what’s accomplished by our members and partners, placing them on the international scene.
Projects & Programmes AER has extensive experience in all aspects of European project management and funding and can assist our members with EU or regional projects and programmes.
Capacity building & Advising AER offers members access to expert political analysis, advice on strategical aspects of regional politics and connection, and intermediation with European institutions. In effect, members and partners are accompanied through the European decision-making process.
AER Website and Newsletters
These are the main tools for communication to our members, partners and stakeholders.
The website gathers all information on AER, explaining what it is, our activities, our members and partners, our thematic and regional expertise, our positions and our publications.
The newsletters are open to all willing to subscribe to it and allows everyone to follow closely our activities.
AER is active on several social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. Regular updates are posted allowing for our followers and friends to keep live track of what is going on at AER. It also allows for member regions to further highlight and promote their achievements.
The 3 thematic committees are at the heart of AER’s work on policy development, exchange and inter-regional cooperation. They provide an unbureaucratic space where transfer and learning can take place:
- AER Committee (1) for Economy & Regional Development
- AER Committee (2) for Social Policy & Public Health
- AER Committee (3) for Culture, Education & Youth
Thematic working groups
These ad-hoc groups are organized within the Committees, they give AER expert input to support the drafting of political statements, they provide for concrete actions at regional level, allowing for sharing best practices on identified topics and give also input for AER’s daily lobbying work.
Highlighting and promoting AER’s work through the European Investment and Business Summit, the Black Sea Summit, the Eastern partnership forum and various other conferences and workshops all throughout the year and all over wider Europe.
AER is continuously partner of various European Projects in different topics that are in line with the work done by the three committees and are of interest to our members. AER also allows for better partner search for members wishing to undertake a new project, assisting them in the building of project proposals and helping to disseminate information between member regions on past, ongoing or future initiatives:
- Monitoring calls for projects and service contracts;
- Disseminating information on funding opportunities and partner search;
- Assist members in finding project partners;
- Project writing & development;
- Taking part in projects as component leader or partner;
- Disseminating project information on behalf of member regions involved in projects;
- Using project experience, expertise and know-how to feed into AER’s own work.
Regional Peer Reviews
The AER European-wide peer review system, enables the dissemination of best practice and development of excellence in the field of regional economic development.
The peer reviews are one-week visits by multinational teams of regional officers and politicians to a host region which is interested in improving its economic development policies. Based on the findings made during the visit, the review team prepares a report with a series of policy recommendations for the host region.
The AER professional mobility programme offers 3 to 7 months’ internships abroad to young people who are looking for a first job experience. Every year, 600 young people benefit from this programme. The Eurodyssey President is a member of the AER Executive Board.
YRN brings together young people between 18 and 30 who participate in the regional decision-making process and bring their point of view on the policies discussed within AER or the policies they deem relevant. The YRN President is a member of the AER Executive Board.
The Summer Academy is an annual forum to exchange knowledge and experience. Every year, politicians, civil servants, experts and representatives of the YRN meet in an informal setting to strengthen co-operation on a given topic.
Monitoring regionalisation has always been one of AER’s main missions and objectives. The Observatory relies on the expertise of academics and professors throughout Europe to keep track of the developments in all European countries, in terms of decentralisation, subsidiarity and regional democracy.
Together with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), AER invites Presidents of European regions to meet their US counterparts. Together with a selected number of economic, social, academic and cultural stakeholders, the meeting will provide a unique platform of information and exchange on the key challenges faced by the territories. The agenda will be set up with the participating regions, to meet their specific needs and demands.
Illustrating the strategic role that regions play in making innovation happen in Europe, this prize rewards the most innovative region for a project launched each year throughout its member states. It is governed by the Committee for Economy and Regional development.
The award promotes initiatives related to various youth issues, offering European regions the chance to make their projects known to the wider public, share their invaluable experience, and provide examples of good practice to other European Regions. It is governed by the Committee for Culture, Education & Youth.
AER has entered into a series of strategic and thematic partnerships in order to strengthen its expertise in some specific domains and to raise awareness and visibility of the regional dimension on a European as well as an International level. The current list of partners can be viewed here.
The Bureau is the primary political voice of AER. It engages in issues of a pan-European and global nature emanating from members and establishes the political base for AER’s advocacy work. It is the primary political voice of AER.
The meetings are open to the public, inviting international, interregional, regional and municipal organisations to take part in the debate. It consists of the members of the Executive Board and two representatives per State represented within the AER as well as a series of individuals (outgoing Presidents, Presidents of AER Programmes, Presidents of partner organisations and institutions, and representatives of regions hosting the AER offices), invited on a personal basis.
AER Political priorities
Document formulating the two core objectives into the political orientation of AER over the coming years. Adopted by the AER Bureau and ratified by the AER General Assembly. Renewed every two years.
AER members are encouraged to draft political reports on topics representative of the interests of AER members. These political report are useful lobbying tools, facilitating the exchange and compiling of good practices and allowing all interested AER members to promote their views and experiences on a given topic.
A consolidation of the Committee Work programmes, implementing each core objective throughout a year. Adopted by the Executive Board and ratified by the General Assembly. Renewed annually.
The main role of the AER Secretariat, with offices in Brussels and Strasbourg, is facilitation, focusing its services to members and partners on three areas:
- Communications & Events
- Thematics & Policies
- Projects & Funding
Each Committee President’s region is charged to appoint a seconded officer to act as committee secretariat in liaison with the secretariat. The same principle applies to the regions taking the presidency of the AER Programmes.
There is a division of labour between the AER Secretariat and the Seconded officers. The AER Secretariats’ role is:
- Monitoring of EU activity in AER fields of interest;
- Keeping members informed of EU policy developments, calls for projects etc;
- Disseminating and facilitating;
- Co-organise events and projects in collaboration with the seconded officers.
The Seconded officers will:
- Co-organise events and projects in collaboration with the secretariat;
- Manage the content of the meetings;
- Draft speeches and policy contributions.
Press releases and press meetings
AER regularly sends out press releases to all EU and international media, stakeholders and member regions, delivering key messages on topics of current concern, new activities at AER and political stances our members wish to take.
In order to give a voice to our members and political representatives, press conferences are organized whenever possible with local as well as EU media to answer directly to questions asked by journalists and press. This allows for AER to gain more visibility and promote our activities further to a wider public.