Conference: Regions in the Heart of Europe
May 31, 2014
Conference: Regions in the Heart of Europe.
Regional officials from throughout Europe flocked to the southwestern Polish city of Wrocław May 26-28 to discuss the challenges faced by the European Union after the European Parliament elections. The occasion was the 2014 general meeting of the Assembly of European Regions, an organization that brings together nearly 230 regions from 35 countries in Europe along with 15 interregional organizations.
Cezary Przybylski, chairman of Poland’s Lower Silesia province, of which Wrocław is the administrative capital, said the meeting provided an opportunity to voice ideas for the development of the region under the EU’s next budget.
Those gathered at the Wrocław Conference Center discussed the evolution of “traditional regions” in Europe and their current role in the EU. They also focused on the tools that should be used to promote regions and explored ideas about how to improve the attractiveness of regions in order to draw in investment and jobs. Participants also discussed whether or not multi-level governance is the right form of strengthening regions in the future.
The conference, held under the motto “Regions in the heart of Europe,” was opened by Lower Silesia province board member Jerzy Tutaj, who said that the meeting offered some real tools for shaping regional policy in the European Union.
Tutaj said, “The issues that we are discussing today are vital and relate to the challenges that we all face in Europe and the European Union after the crisis. Our intention is to compare various regional experiences and develop a model of coherent regional policy for the future. I am glad that today we can speak with the voice of all 230 regions grouped together in the Assembly of European Regions.”
A special guest of the event was Walter Deffaa, the European Commission's Director-General for Regional and Urban Policy. The European Commission department Deffaa manages is responsible for reducing socioeconomic disparities between regions in EU member states. The department allocates funds for the development of EU regions from the European Regional Development Fund.
Deffaa praised the authorities of Lower Silesia province for putting EU funds to good use—to create new, innovative jobs in the region.