S’Hertogenbosch, Noord-Brabant (NL), 19 May 2006
At a time when the European Institutions ask the regions to participate in the process of European competitiveness, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) made today its contribution to increase regional economic development.
“We, the Regions, can contribute to a better future for Europe and its citizens. We do not want to wait until the EU gives us the new lines on the financial perspectives to act regionally. There is a need to combine innovation efforts of regional, national and European governments,” pointed out Onno Hoes, President of the AER Committee on ‘Regional Policies’ and Regional Minister for Economic and European Affairs of Noord-Brabant-NL. This is the reason why the AER and the Province Noord-Brabant invited Regions and stakeholders to join a two days Seminar and Partnership Fair: ‘Regions as the driving forces of European competitiveness: from theory to practice’. “We now hope that Brussels is ready to become a real partner for the European regions,” Mr Hoes added. “There has to be a stronger alliance between Brussels and the Regions, because if we have to wait for our Member States to emphasise the issues of the future, we won’t win the competition with the United States and Asia.”
“I am proud to announce that 200 people, representing 45 Regions from 18 European countries, European Institutions and relevant organisations took part in the event!” underlined Onno Hoes. Through thematic workshops, participants shared experiences on how to identify the main economic assets of a Region and the importance of innovation. “One of our main goals is to connect economic innovation with the environmental and social agendas,” Mr Hoes stated. “This is the moment where political aims and the possibilities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) meet each other.” The topic of innovation was also present thanks to an exhibition area where participants could discover examples of best practices in energy, ageing or revitalisation of the countryside.
This event is one more step in the long-term strategy of the AER. “We will pursue our action with our 255 member Regions at our General Assembly in November 2006,” underlined Klaus Klipp, Secretary General of the AER. “In today’s globalised world, European competitiveness must come from the Regions. We have no reason to fear the global economy, we just have to adopt a practical and realistic approach, like we did today.”
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