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Open Days 11th European Week of Regions and Cities

Submitted by on 27 Nov 2013 – 11:33

By Simon Gillon, Managing Editor, Government Gazette

Open Days is by now a well and truly established annual feature in the calendar of anyone involved in regional policy and in the implementation of regional development projects in the European Union.

Every October, thousands of delegates come together in the Committee of the Regions main offices in Rue Belliard to participate in seminars, discussions, meetings and cultural events, or to showcase their particular region or project.

It is a really great and interesting event, highlighting both the diversity of Europe’s regions and nations, as well as showcasing the driving force from the centre in Brussels, the Committee of the Regions itself, which co-ordinates so much independent and inspired activity across the continent, for the benefit of its citizens and the improvement of the quality of their lives and their living standards.

This year, the event takes place from Monday 7th – Thursday 10th October. It is the 11th European Week of Regions and Cities.

The 2013 working sessions are distributed as follows:

  • 25 workshops/debates organised by regional partnerships, i.e. consortia of regions and/or cities
  • 34 workshops/debates organised by the Regional and Urban Policy Directorate General of the European Commission
  • 34 workshops hosted in the Committee of the Regions’ premises, known as the ‘Meeting Place’
  • 8 ‘Open Days University’ seminars on the theme ‘Challenges and solutions’.

This year, regions and cities will be finalising preparations for the 2014-2020 cohesion policy, rural development and fisheries programmes. The event will offer EU institutions, managing authorities and final beneficiaries a chance to exchange and network on new approaches even before the new operational programmes (OPs) are implemented in 2014.

Regions and cities will also be able to present the results of their 2007-2013 EU-funded programmes and projects, showcasing the impact these have on regional development, i.e. contributing to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Open Days 2013 thematic priorities

Marking the new timeline towards the Europe 2020 strategy, the Open Days 2013 will be held under the slogan ‘Europe’s regions and cities taking off for 2020‘. Workshops will address one of the following themes:

1. Managing change 2014-2020: Workshops will present and discuss innovative approaches to the implementation of the 2014-2020 thematic priorities. Practitioners, academics and EU institutions and regional experts would share their experience on the new elements in the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes (e.g. integrated territorial investment, the joint action plans, governance issues, features of the new performance framework, financial instruments, simplified cost options., etc.).

2. Synergies and cooperation: Identifying how to cooperate, coordinate and ensure synergies between different EU and national and regional policies and sources of funding will be the discussed here. This includes synergies between cohesion policy objectives. Approaches to cooperation such as the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation and macro-regional strategies could also be presented, as well as examples of sound cooperation between national, regional and city administrations and expert institutions.

3. Challenges and solutions: Every European region and city is facing challenges that it finds hard to deal with on its own. But solutions to improve people’s quality of life exist throughout Europe and elsewhere. They can be shared and perhaps adapted to different regional and urban contexts. Workshops will aim at presenting practical solutions to common regional and urban challenges, e.g.: SMEs’ access to credit and to the global markets, youth unemployment, demographic challenges, waste, water and natural risks management, congestion, pollution or high energy consumption.

As always, there are also several side events, taking place away from the main event itself.

Full details of these can be found on the Open Days website at


Also, the huge range of locally organised events across the whole of the European Union, is listed by country on the website at


This gives a good idea of the degree of involvement and interest that exists, both from the point of view of organisers, and also participants and local beneficiaries, in the range of activities carried out under the umbrella of the Committee of the Regions, and it enables participation in the overall event by thousands more citizens across the continent, who are not able to make it to Brussels for the week.

The other elements of the event in Brussels are the Open Days University, and the 100 EUrban Solutions exhibition, which is on display all over the EU quarter of Brussels, and which is hosting networking activities in the evening of Tuesday 8th October.

Full details of all the activities are to be found on the event’s official website at