A guide from the RURACT methodology.
The concrete manifestations of interregional cooperation and partnership actions between European territories are not yet sufficiently well known. Nevertheless, European regions have considerable experience in this domain, indicating the interest of such enterprises. And although these joint endeavours represent a daily challenge, often long and costly, we have found that cooperation provides a real European added-value.
Nowadays, individual initiatives and the simple exchange of good practices are no longer sufficient. It is time for more. To this end, the Limousin Region created the RUR@CT network in 2008 in order to capitalize on the innovative experiences of European regions and to promote their transfer to other regions. The aim of RUR@CT is to create a network of cooperation between European regions in order to produce concrete and tangible results. This pioneering and ambitious procedure has already borne fruit, as the network has succeeded in federating 66 Regions in 17 Member States, has capitalized on 155 good practices and supported the implementation of 40 action plans representing more than 30 million Euros in favour of territorial innovation.
Based on the experience of these four years, the achievements of the RUR@CT network in terms of methodology have been reformulated and developed in this new version of the methodological guide, which is intended to be broadly distributed within the Assembly of European Regions (AER) as part of a specific partnership that makes Rur@ct a fully-fledged programme of the AER.
Territorial development is a challenge for many European regions, which have sometimes made bold decisions, not hesitating to engage in financially risky projects. With hindsight, these projects have proved their value and have contributed to fostering an economic, social and cultural development.
Networking these different experiences provides mutual enrichment and a showcase for know-how and regional innovation. Each region has a full and complete role to play, especially in what concern the development of rural or disadvantaged areas. Regions are a laboratory, a crucible, and the aim of the RUR@CT network is to federate these initiatives in order to contribute to the harmonious and balanced development of territories.
With the regulatory framework and budget perspectives being negotiated for future 2014-2010 European programmes, RUR@CT constitutes a benchmark network for capitalizing on and transferring experience in rural development, thus reflecting the declared priorities of the European institutions and the needs of European regions.
The historic involvement of the Limousin region in favour of harmonious development in rural areas naturally leads us to work together to face the great challenges of tomorrow. By federating the European Regions we can work together to reinvigorate territorial development policies with a view to innovating and fostering solidarity between people and the cohesion between territories.
It is with great determination and enthusiasm that the Assembly of European Regions takes up this torch with the intention of making Rur@ct the first and principal European programme dedicated to the effective transfer of regional good practices.
President of Limousin and the Ruract network
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