The General Assembly is the highest authority of AER and convenes representatives of all its full members at least once a year. The General Assembly adopts among other things, the annual reports of the Thematic Committees.
This report is the compilation of actions developped and implemented within Committee 3 between the 2017 General Assembly in Sankt Pölten, Lower Austria (AT) and the 2018 General Assembly in Lillehammer, Oppland (NO).
Activities are organised in 3 categories:
- Good practice sharing
- Advocacy/ Lobbying
The AER Action plan, which brings together all the activities carried out within AER, is constantly updated.
Involvement of YRN in AER projects: ongoing
AER is supporting the YRN’s participation in European Projects in 2 main aspects:
- support in the development of own projects, as in the case of the development of an environment project based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). YRN representatives met with AER Coordinator for European Projects & Private Partnerships Agnese Pantaloni to learn about project development steps and potential funding opportunities. The YRN will work on the definition of an EU project.
- Systematically think of including the YRN when AER is invited to join a consortium
Project development, Youth Mental Health: ongoing
On the occasion of the Nancy plenary meeting a project development workshop on youth mental health was held to further identify areas for potential collaboration on the topic of youth mental health and the desired scope for such a project. During the Committees Plenary meetings in London, Committee 2 and Committee 3 decided to join forces for the development of a European project on youth mental health. This is the follow-up of a workshop which was held in Izmir and which identified the difficulty for young people to relate to others as a shared challenge for many very diverse regions in Europe. During the AER General Assembly a first project development meeting was held to discuss the type of focus and funding programmes. In the context of this project development the AER Secretariat also engaged with diverse experts from organisations working on mental health and held a meeting with DG EAC on youth mental health.
Due to difficulties in identifying a potential lead partner, members decided to refocus this activity on good practice sharing and awareness raising through
-gathering of prevention resources
-potential topic for a future Summer Academy
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 replace the traditional AER Regional Innovation Award. The first Awards Ceremony took place on May 2018 in Brussels under the moral patronage from Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
SEED is a two-year project: 10/2016 to 09/2018
Youth Caravan: cancelled
This interregional project was developed to follow-up on the workshop organised by Harghita at the 2016 EWCR. It aimed to foster the dialogue between youth and policy makers. The YRN had the possibility to participate to the main project meetings (mainly the youth consultations and the final conference) having travel & accommodation costs covered, they would have had the possibility to contribute to the elaboration of the joint action plan as well as to be involved in the other project activities. This was supposed to be a 3 years project starting in autumn 2017.
Project development, Cultural Heritage: planned
On the occasion of the Plenary meetings in London a project development workshop was organised on the topic of cultural heritage. Several topics were suggested for project development, such as cultural heritage routes and digitalisation. The region of Nordland presented their project proposal, Via Querinissima, which was also presented on the AER website. The AER Secretariat supported the region for the consortium building.
AER in particular contributed to the development of project idea based on the promotion of the heritage to young generations of edible landscapes. The aim was to raise awareness on the importance to transfer to young generation the immaterial heritage that shaped landscapes through the production of edible local traditional products and give to the landscape a future. This project was not awarded funding.
Other regions regions discussed potential areas for collaboration. AER regularly receives invitations to join projects or requests for support to consortium building. These are generally shared on the AER website.Regions willing to get support for the development of a project can contact the AER Secretariat.
Summer Academy “Cultural heritage for regional attractiveness” Europe for Citizens project: planned
In order to support the implementation of the 2018 AER Summer Academy in Maramures and further develop its impact for citizens the host region developped a Europe for Citizens project proposal which has just been submitted.
Committees Autumn Plenaries in Nancy: finished
This Autumn’s committees’ plenary took place in Nancy (FR) from the 12th to the 14th of September. The events featured a debate on culture in the digital age, a workshop on the value of data, a workshop on transport & mobility, a workshop on life-cycle approaches and the Committees Plenary meetings.
A discussion on Cohesion Policy and its advantages also took place in Nancy.
Committees Spring Plenaries in Arad: finished
The 2018 Spring Committees’ Plenaries took place in Arad (RO) on 20-22 March. The events featured a debate on innovation ecosystems, a workshop on integrated care systems, a lounge meeting on equal opportunities, a meeting of the working group on transports, a Breakfast Briefing on implementing democracy in regional policy making, a presentation of the social inclusion policies in Arad, a meeting of the Summer Academy Organising Committee and the Committees Plenary meetings.
The Committees’ Plenaries were an opportunity to develop the Committees’ work programmes.
INTERREG Europe Policy Learning Platform (IEPLP): finished
AER was a partner of the Policy Learning Platform (PLP) which is the second action of the Interreg Europe programme established to boost EU-wide policy learning and capitalisation of practices from investments on growth and jobs. The Platform aims to be a space for continuous learning where regional actors in Europe can tap into the know-how of experts and peers. The PLP was present at the European Week of Regions and Cities (formerly Open Days).
Event on a current transversal topic: finished
Jean-Luc Vanraes, President of the AER Committee on Regional Development and Economy invited AER members to contribute to the organisation of a mtual learning event on artificial intelligence held in Brussels, on November 30th 2017. A debate at the Committee 1 Plenary meeting paved the way for this event. This event, “Artificial Intelligence: are regions up to the challenge” was organised on the same format as the event “E-health let’s find a common language” which took place in December 2016 with the contribution of very diverse stakeholders. At the event, group discussions adressed the following topics:
- Supporting innovation, attracting innovators
- The Health Revolution
- Culture In a Digital World
- Skills and Competences: racing with machines
- AI: Towards a Soulless World?
The event lead also to the publication of a series of articles on artificial intelligence and its implications for different policy areas.
Cultural heritage: ongoing
On the occasion of the workshop on cultural heritage, AER members shared their experiences, challenges and good practices. Another means of sharing good practices is via the AER website. The region of Gävleborg for instance shared their vision and activities in the context of the European Year for Cultural Heritage
AER Most Youth Friendly European Region: finished
The MYFER award ceremony took place on the occasion of the AER GA in Lower Austria and recognised the particularly impressive achievements of Vojvodina and Catalonia. The evaluation and selection of the projects was carried out together with representatives from the AER Youth Regional Network, Eurochild, the European Youth Forum (EYF), the European Youth Parliament (EYP), and the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe Youth Department. Each of the projects submitted received a detailed evaluation and advice for improvements. The youth-friendly initiatives shared were highlighted in a series of #shinebright articles on the AER website in order to inspire other regions.
Awareness-raising & engagement about Eurodyssey: ongoing
While Eurodyssey is the oldest AER programme its achievements and the way it works are not always well known to AER members. Eurodyssey provides young Europeans a work experience abroad. This has proven to be extremely positive in increasing employment perspectives for young people. The programme is for youth 18 to 30, unemployed or recently qualified, living in a participating region. The work placements are organised and financed by the host regions. Since its creation, over 10,000 young people have benefited from Eurodyssey work placements. New regions can join and benefit from the programme. The feedback from the last Eurodyssey Forum can be found on the AER website and the next Eurodyssey Forum will take place in Brussels Capital Region from 18-20 April.
Culture for Inclusion
On the initiative of Nina Björby, Chair of the Subcommittee on Cuture a Handbook was developped, which brings together several good practices from all over Europe and aims to serve as an inspiration and a basis for collaboration. The AER Handbook of good practices on Culture for the inclusion of migrants and refugees was published in March 2018.
Par/Tea, culture and inclusion: cancelled
This initiatives aimed to integrate migrant people by organising cultural events. The exchange of cultural values and learning by dialogue are the 2 main objectives. The idea was for the events to be organised as non-formal gathering of people on a weekly basis and more formal workshops.
Vojvodina initially foresaw to organise a “PARtea” seminar end 2017 and discuss results with AER members. This initiative was cancelled.
Culture & Health: cancelled
Follow-up on previous actions and conferences in Istanbul & Västerbotten on topics such as culture on prescription, culture and sports. After the workshop on culture and health in Nordjylland an AER handbook on Culture and Health was published in 2015. Regions willing to engage in further policy learning on this topic can contact the Secretariat to define activities they can lead within the AER network. The Secretariat did not receive expressions of interest from regions wanting to develop concrete policy learning activities.
Compilation of good practices on school dropouts: finished
The region of Västernorrland brought together regions to share good practices to combat early school leaving through the AER working group on school dropouts. They set up an Erasmus+ project to further develop the exchanges and mutual learning. They finalised the work with a very useful handbook which brings together good practices from 11 regions in wider Europe.
Awareness raising on YRN activities: ongoing
Awareness raising on YRN activities is carried out through:
- information on the AER website
- communication around YRN activities, such as high-level meetings, conferences or capacity building activities
- inclusion of YRN representatives in the AER slack teams for online collaboration
- invitation of YRN representatives to AER activities, partnership development, and plenary meetings
Training on European regional affairs: ongoing
AER is a partner of the European College of Cluny, a new training offer 100% dedicated to local democracy, territorial engineering and innovation in Europe. An AER delegation participated in the Cluny Summer School to further develop the collaboration for the training as well as for the AER Summer Academy. In the framework of this cooperation with the European College of Cluny, AER has proposed to offer a training on youth mobility for regional policy makers in the first year the College will be operating. The Eurodyssey Steering Committee will be developing and implementing this training, as decided during the meeting in Sibenik Knin in October 2017.
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.
Following the publication of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework on May 2nd, AER’s reaction can be found here
AER Report on Regionalisation: ongoing
More than 40 academic experts accepted to give their contribution to this work, by delivering detailed reports about the state of regionalisation and multilevel governance in chosen European countries. The study covers 41 countries, and each country report is based on a similar structure, thereby allowing a comparative approach among all studied countries.
33rd Session of the Congress Local and Regional Authorities: ongoing
AER has a partnership status with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. It sends high-level representatives to the meetings of the Congress and sits in the Chamber of Regions Bureau. On 19 October, the AER President, Magnus Berntsson, took part in the 33rd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and addressed the Chamber of Regions during the debate on “Regional Co-operation and democracy in Europe: the role of European regional associations and organisations”. At the Session, the AER and the Congress expanded their existing collaboration by signing a Joint Action Plan for 2018-2020. The document reiterates the commitment to work together on various issues of mutual interest, notably regional democracy, youth participation and cultural diversity.