Commenting on the selection, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said, “The 19 projects chosen by the jury show Regional Policy in action. They highlight the excellent work being done on the ground and demonstrate the kind of inventive and dynamic approach from regions around Europe to using our funds with the aim of triggering growth and creating jobs.
This is what the EU2020 Growth Agenda is really about: finding new solutions to address our common challenges like youth unemployment, pollution and climate change, the quality of life in our cities and a lack of opportunity for small businesses to grow and flourish. I am deeply impressed by the quality of the finalists this year. They are a source of inspiration to others across Europe. After all it is the projects themselves on which the success of Regional Policy and its investments for economic development ultimately depends.”
The finalists come from regions and cities in 17 Member States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
They will be showcasing their projects before the awards jury, chaired by former Committee of the Regions President Luc Van den Brande, on October 8 during the 11th annual European Week of Regions and Cities – OPEN DAYS 2013. The winners will be chosen at the Award Ceremony presented by Commissioner Hahn in Brussels on March 31 2014.
The award categories which reflect the priorities of the Europe2020 Growth Agenda are:
- Smart Growth – SME Innovation: supporting the competitiveness and growth of small and medium sized business
- Sustainable Growth – Green growth and jobs through bio-economy: sustainable investments in the bio-economy sector
- Inclusive Growth – Creating jobs for the younger generation: helping to fight youth unemployment
- CityStar – Investment projects in sustainable urban public transport: supporting the development of strategies address transport issues in our cities
The previous RegioStars Awards for 2013 honoured flagship projects in Porto (Portugal), the North West of England (the United Kingdom), Warmińsko-Mazurskie (Poland), Berlin (Germany) and Lithuania. The categories focused on research and development, resource efficiency in SMEs, social innovation, sustainable urban development and the use of videos to promote EU regional policy.
The aim of the RegioStars Awards is to recognize good practice in regional development and to highlight original and inspiring projects which could prove a model for other regions.
The annual RegioStars Awards are open to all EU regions to submit projects which have received investment through EU Regional policy since 1st January 2000. Since its creation in 2008, the greatest numbers of applications have been received from Austria, Belgium, the Baltic countries and Wales in the UK.
OPEN DAYS 2013 from 7 to 10 October 2013 in Brussels, will provide the opportunity for the finalists to exhibit and explain their projects. The OPEN DAYS event brings together hundreds of political representatives, experts and practitioners to debate regional policy. This year’s event comes at a crucial point as Europe’s regions and cities will be finalizing their preparations for the 2014-2020 newly reformed EU Cohesion Policy.