Twice a year the members of the AER Committee on Culture, Education and Youth gather in plenary meeting. This is the opportunity to set goals for cooperation through the elaboration of a joint work programme and to evaluate progress every six months.
On the occasion of the Committees’ plenaries in Arad, AER members identified joint actions they wanted to implement with fellow regions. Six months later it is time to evaluate progress, celebrate achievements and share experiences!
During the elaboration of the work programme in Arad, planned activities were organised in 3 categories:
Good practice sharing
The below progress report was compiled for the autumn 2018 plenary meeting in Novi Sad. It gives an overview of the situation, 6 months after the adoption of the work programme.
“Road to the Future” (accepted)
Road to the Future” is a project submitted under the Erasmus+ programme, within the Key Action 3 – Support for Policy Reform, and it is designed around the European Parliament Elections in 2019. First, it will encourage debate among young European on the European elections and increase young voters turnout. This will be realised through training of youth activists, leaders and the development of tools and resources. After the elections, the project will continue the training for trainers and mentors, based on the ideas collected during the first phase. This will ensure that young people gain the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to be engaged for the future of Europe at the local level.
The lead partner is JEF Europe – Young European Federalist. AER represents local and regional authorities. The consortium is composed by 21 organisations, mainly national JEF associations.
AER is responsible to connect young people and decision makers, especially via the involvement of the YRN.
“Road to the Future” will last 16 months, from September/October 2018 to December 2019/January 2020, depending on its actual start.
Bridging the gap project (canceled)
Dialogue between elected politicians and Youth representatives aims to promote the active participation of young people in democratic life and foster debate around the major issues affecting youth. After several exchanges, the project initiator, the Province of Vojvodina (RS), and the potential coordinator, Timis County Council (RO), agreed that there the conditions to finalise the submission were not met.
Together for Cohesion: let’s rEUnite! project
The project will launch an integrated campaign “Together for Cohesion: let’s rEUnite!” with ongoing press functions and an activity mix which will allow us to achieve indirect and direct reach of the target audience.
The campaign centers on the stories of locals in regions in each of the five selected countries (Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Italy and Spain), as a highly-relatable focal points to convey the positive impact of Cohesion policy in people’s everyday lives.
The project is led by AER with the international communication agency MC Group (DE). The application was submitted to the DG Regio on the media calls for proposals.
The project is part of AER’s work on Cohesion Policy.
Silver Economy Awards (SEED): ongoing
The Silver Economy Awards aim to catalyse a sustainable European digital Silver Economy movement by promoting and rewarding innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for over 50s. The Awards are an opportunity to raise awareness around the lesser-known notion of the Silver Economy. They illustrate the breadth of the consumer markets and the public spending involved and the size of the opportunities available for entrepreneurs, investors, public authorities and civil society.
This year the Silver Economy Awards replaced the traditional AER Regional Innovation Award. The first Awards Ceremony took place on May 2018 in Brussels.
SEED is a two-year project: 10/2016 to 09/2018
Event: EU funding for Croatian & Albanian regions
The event on EU funding for Croatian regions, hosted by Varaždin (HR) and Committee 3 President Radimir Čačić, and the event on EU funding for Albanian regions, hosted by Korcë (AL) and MEG member Ana Verushi brought together about 70 participants, both members and non members of AER to:
-hear about AER’s activities
-learn more on AER services for projects and services
-obtain information on the areas of cooperation with EU
-get a relevant update on the current and forthcoming EU funding opportunities
-become aware of the successful experiences of project applicants
Good Practice Sharing
Civil servants exchange programme (ongoing)
This programme will be a follow-up programme of the former Centurio programme, which was implemented for several years in AER and was very successful. The programme supports innovation in the public sector & capacity building by allowing civil servants to be placed in another region for a few months, learn processes and practices there and share their experience when they come back. The action is led by Committee 3 President Radimir Čačić, Varaždin (HR)
Identify best practices on Youth entrepreneurship (ongoing)
Committee 3 would like to exchange good practices on youth entrepreneurship and identify best practices in Europe.The idea is to develop curricula, which could be applied in different region.
Contacts have been established with EMAX, a Swedish organisation, which organises innovation camps to identify areas for cooperation.
Mutual learning event on the Sharing Economy (ongoing)
Each year Brussels Capital proposes a mutual learning event on a current and transversal topic. On December 4th 2018, Brussels Capital will organise a mutual learning event on the sharing Economy together with Catalonia, in Brussels, Brussels Capital Region (BE). This event organised upon the invitation of Committee 1 President Jean Luc Vanraes, aims to gather experiences from all three AER Committees and regions are welcome to share inputs and regional examples.
Youth Mental Health (planned)
On the occasion of the 2018 Spring plenaries in Arad members decided to refocus the cooperation, which initially was oriented on project development (see here the 2017-2018 action on youth mental health) activity on good practice sharing and awareness raising through
-gathering of prevention resources
-potential topic for a future Summer Academy
These activities have yet to be organised, regions are welcome to take the lead.
Youth Mental Health: participation in “Young Carers in a Changing World” event (canceled)
Over the Summer the AER Secretariat has been in touch with the President of the Greek Carer Network (EPIONI), who is also a board member of EUFAMI – European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness, and of the World Federation for Mental Health.
EPIONI is organising an event at the Office of European Parliament on Mental Health in Athene (GR) the 28 September 2018: “Young Carers in a Changing World” and invited AER members working on youth mental health to speak at this conference. Members involved in youth mental health were not available to contribute to this event.
AER Summer Academy 2018 – Cultural Heritage for Regional Attractiveness (finished)
This aim was to create opportunities for inter-cultural exchanges & debates among people from European regions, supporting citizens understanding of the relevance of culture & cultural heritage as a means of promoting social inclusion, equality, combating discrimination as well as increasing the attractiveness of their regions.
Cohesion Policy Activities: ongoing
Building on AER’s role in advocating for a strong cohesion policy, and following the adoption of a position paper on the future of cohesion policy post 2020 at the Bureau meeting in Sankt Pölten, Lower Austria (AT) on 1 June 2017, AER will continue to convene and deliver joint policy influencing work for the future cohesion policy by:
- Holding regular debates on cohesion policy among members and between members and relevant stakeholders, such as the “Cohesion Policy: are you getting anything out of it?” debate during the AER Committees’ Autumn Plenary Meeting in Nancy on 12 September.
- Gathering facts and figures on cohesion investments results and impact for a evidence-based advocacy.
- Disseminating the AER position on future cohesion policy to key stakeholders and decision-makers in-country (in coordination with member regions) and in Brussels.
- Working together with other European associations of regions, municipalities and cities and the Committee of the Regions to generate broader support for regions interests and policy proposals, including #CohesionAlliance created to demand that the EU budget after 2020 makes cohesion policy stronger, more effective, visible and available for every region in the European Union.
The Task Force on Cohesion Policy post 2020 will continue to support the work of AER in this field, providing strategic direction and oversight.
These actions aim to ensure European regions engage in the future cohesion policy discussions at regional, national and European level, and meaningfully contribute to the design and implementation of a stronger and more effective reformed policy.
AER Bureau Task Forces
The 2018 Spring Bureau established the creation of Task Forces on dedicated topics. These Task Forces will gather examples, identify and formulate policy messages which will be brought together in position papers which will then be used for advocacy. Members who would like to contribute to one of the below Task Forces should contact AER Coordinator for Advocacy & Institutionnal Relations Vania Freitas
-Task Force on Food
-Task force on Digitalisation
-Task Force on Migration
-Task Force on Social Innovation
The Committees’ work programmes and the AER action Plan
The developement of the Action Plan is a collective process to enable all participants to specify needs and decide to initiate activities which add value for their region. The principle is the following: as long as an action fits with the AER values, is in line with the AER priorities and has support from other regions, it can be included in the Committees work programmes. The work programmes are developped in Spring each year.
The AER action plan is the consolidation of the three Committees’ work programmes with all other activities led by the Bureau and the Executive Board. It is adopted at the General Assembly.
Members can propose new joint initiatives at any time during the year, these are then approved by the Executive Board and included in the Committees work programmes and the AER action plan.