The regions harness the benefits of globalisation
Palma de Mallorca, Balears Islands (E), 9 November 2006
At the occasion of its General Assembly, bringing together over 140 regions from 27 European countries, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) deconstructed the myths surrounding globalisation and adopted its final declaration on how to harness the opportunities of a globalised world. ‘The Regions understand the potential that globalisation can offer them to develop their economies, their cultures and their societies. Regions are not afraid to tackle global challenges head on. Today the Assembly of European Regions has taken a stand on migration, delocalisation, the environment and cultural diversity,’ stated Riccardo Illy, President of the AER and President of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia-I.
‘We insist that the regions should adopt a responsible and mature approach to migration, based on close cooperation between the host regions and the regions of origin. I understand that at first glance, migration may be perceived as an uncontrolled incursion, but I am convinced that in the long term, it can and will have a positive effect on our cultures, economies and societies. In our Autonomous region, the Illes Balears, we have witnessed the arrival of a large numbers of migrants, and we have already experienced the mutual enrichment that migration can bring. We are eager to share our experience with the other AER member regions, in order to help them overcome the challenges migration poses and to allow them to benefit fully from its potential,’ stated Cristóbal Huguet Sintes, Minister for Labour and Training of the Regional Government of Illes Balears (E), the host region for the meeting.
‘The AER Regions are committed to promoting renewable energies and environment-friendly territorial policies. We demand that regions have the necessary financial and legislative competences in order to strengthen our economies and respond to global competition,’ Riccardo Illy explained. In his speech as re-elected AER President, Riccardo Illy said that the regions are best suited to ‘restart the engine’ and reboost the European integration process, because they are ‘better able to communicate with citizens.’ He stated that Europe’s competitive edge lies in its ‘pluralist society, which is multilingual, multicultural and multireligious’ and concluded that ‘Europe has already been created, now we have to create Europeans. This is one of the main missions of the Assembly of European Regions.’
Addressing the 500 participants, European Commissioner Danuta Hübner underlined that ‘The importance of local and regional economies for Europe’s growth will inevitably increase, thereby rendering the need for synergies in multi-level governance more urgent. Clearly, our regions should continue to measure their strengths and weaknesses within the European framework of reference; this is the imperative of convergence. On the other hand however, we cannot ignore the fact that European regions and cities are increasingly exposed to the global economy. This means more emphasis on the regions’ position in key global networks, clusters and chains. There is no sustainable cohesion without competitiveness,’ Danuta Hübner added.
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