Twice a year the AER Committees meet to share recent achievements, launch new initiatives and learn from each others. At AER, Committees are the place where knowledge, needs, ideas, questions are shared in an open and trusted space. Trust and openess have made the Committees a space of mutual learning for regional policy makers, and indeed a lab for innovation. The Spring Plenary meetings in Arad in March 2018 were a good example of this.
The joint plenary meeting was an opportunity to share initiatives which have been carried out since the Nancy plenaries. One of the main highlight being the work on Cohesion Policy post 2020, which is highly relevant to all regions. Cohesion Policy is a warrant for the ability of regions to implement policies which actually reflect the needs of their territories. In this context AER has joined the Cohesion Alliance which brings together all interregional networks and the Committee of the Regions for joint efforts to keep regions and subsidiarity high on the agenda.
Another strong commitment in AER is on Climate Action, with the R20 which provides support for regions to finance climate action.
AER is continuing to support regions with the development of projects, which has led to several successful project proposals, capacity building and the strengthening of links with regions across wider Europe. AER is indeed committed to increase and revitalise links between regions in order to make its priority “A Strong Europe” a reality. This also led to a series of meetings between AER President Magnus Berntsson, AER Secretary General Mathieu Mori and Presidents of regions in order to better assess needs and provide tailor-made support. Regions which would like to organise such meetings in real life or by phone can contact AER Coordinator for Members Relations Elin Berglie.
The Plenaries are also a moment were regions can exchange about initiatives they have implemented and the ways they are using the AER network. AER has three thematic Committees:
- Economy and regional development
- Social policy and public health
- Culture, education and youth
At the beginning of each of the different Committee Plenaries, members shared how they had successfully carried out an initiative and made use of the available services. These initiatives ranged from mutual learning on youth mental health to the development of a mutual learning event on artificial intelligence. The idea being to look at success factors and benefits for the region.
Spring is work programme definition season at AER! On the occasion of the Spring Plenary meetings in Arad, members of the three thematic Committees decided what they would like to do together and how they want to leverage regional initiatives via the network.
The actions members decided to implement via the committees are diverse. A few examples include the development of a project on youth for the dialogue with policy makers, mutual learning on mental health and the organisation of events on this topic, good practice sharing on the use of virtual reality for world heritage, the development of a training for civil servants to support territorial innovation, good practice sharing on the support to unaccompanied migrant children, leadership for the deployment of integrated care systems, mutual learning on new mobilities…