The Basque Country part of the European Vanguard Initiative. Arantza Tapia signs an agreement in Brussels for 15 European regions to lead smart specialisations and industrial policy
The Basque Government minister met with members of the cabinets of the European commissioners and set out the Basque specialisations sectors, including advanced manufacturing and energy.
The proposals include transforming regional clusters into worldwide clusters.
Brussels, 30 January 2014. The Basque Government's Minister for Economic Development and Competitiveness, Arantza Tapia, has taken part in the High Level Meeting of the so-called "vanguard regions", convened by the Flanders Minister-President, Kris Peeters. Minister Tapia was accompanied by her Deputy Minister, Estibaliz Hernáez Hernáez, the Basque Government's Director for European Affairs, Mikel Antón, and the Basque Country's Delegate to the European Union, Marta Marín.
The representatives of the 15 European regions met to sign the declaration-letter to be sent to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. The letter calls for the position of these regions to be included on the agenda for the coming European Council to be held in March. Specially, it calls on the European Council to move forward in the process for the regions to participate in the new European industrial growth, by proposing to align the strategic plans and strategic investments, along with transforming regional clusters into worldwide clusters.
During the work sessions with the 15 "vanguard" regions, discussions were held with representatives of the European Commission and members of the cabinets of the European Commissioners in charge of driving the new growth policies, in order to jointly develop a new approach towards European innovation and industrial policy based on smart specialisation.
As Minister Tapia stressed and recalled in her speech to her European counterparts, regions play a key role in modernising European industry through innovation, as the regions are the closest political level to represent and support the future of European industry, and by contributing to international competitiveness.
The Basque Country has been one of the most active regions from the start of the initiative. The activities and initiatives of the "vanguard regions" are going to play an active role in applying the key points in the letter sent to the European Council, along with participating in European forums and consultation in different European decision-making processes.
The 15 regions have combined their forces in order to defend new growth through smart specialisations in the European agenda. Smart specialisation is part of the European innovation policy, in order to drive innovation in all European regions by focusing on their strengths. The European smart specialisation strategies bring together all the stakeholders and agents that form part of the regional innovation system, in order to come up with competitive solutions to the challenges facing society, such as growth and employment.
The "vanguard regions" initiative:
The "vanguard regions" comprises 15 European regions: the Basque Country, Baden-Württemberg, Flanders, Wallonia, Lombardy, Lesser Poland North Rhine-Westphalia, Scotland, Skåne County, Southeast Netherlands, Tampere, Asturias, Norte Region Portugal, Upper Austria, and Rhône-Alpes. The Vanguard Initiative is not an exclusive initiative, but seeks to bring together the regions that share the goal of achieving new growth through smart specialisation.
The regions associated to the initiative are committed to smart specialisation, not only as a pre-requisite for the European cohesion policy, but also as the driving principle of its innovation and industrial policies in order to foster competitiveness and growth. The Vanguard Initiative seeks to speed up the integration of smart specialisation in European industry and innovation policies, and to show that the regions may be key drivers when mobilising all political levels and all the stakeholders in the interest of new growth.