The Basque Government strengthens its participation in the most important European event within regional development

2010 October 4

For the sixth year running, the Basque Country will have a proactive role in the VIII Open Days- European Week of Regions and Cities (Brussels, 4th to the 7th of October), organised by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions. Some 6000 people and 245 regions participate in the Open Days, which comprise 100 conferences providing a space for debate and the promotion of the best initiatives in local and regional development and economic growth.

As part of this European event, the Basque Country will participate in three seminars with different themes, as well as presenting its Basque Electric Car Strategy, in particular, the electric van which is assembled at a plant in Vitoria.

In one of these seminars, the Basque Country's General Secretary for Overseas Action, Guillermo Echenique, will be expressing the region's commitment as a driving force behind the development and implementation of an Atlantic strategy. Nine Atlantic European regions of the European Union have been working together in Brussels to set the necessary measures in motion for the creation of such a strategy.

Representatives of the Basque Country will also take part two further seminars to be held during the Open Days with the aim of promoting the "Bilbao Effect" (which is to be recognised by European institutions as an example of good practice in regional development through culture) and presenting "Innobasque" as a model for social innovation.

The Basque Delegation in Brussels - the General Secretariat for Overseas Action of the Basque Government - will coordinate the Basque Country's participation in the various events, which will feature institutions and European regions, as well as Basque public and private bodies and local authorities. These conferences are to be celebrated by the Basque Delegation, the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission.

Last year, Lehendakari Patxi López (representing EU regions before the assembly of political representatives of European regions and the President of the European Commission, Durao Barroso) spoke at the inaugural session to defend the role of the regions in combating the financial crisis.

A comprehensive strategy for the Atlantic area

During the seminar organised by the Basque Delegation in Brussels, Echenique will communicate the actions being carried out by the Basque Country to promote the development and implementation of an Atlantic strategy.

Under the joint leadership of the Basque executive, nine European regions have united to work together on this matter in Brussels. The Basque Country numbers amongst the Atlantic regions that are most committed to the implementation of the first European strategy for the Atlantic area of the European Union. In August of this year, the European Commission initiated a consultation period, and the conclusions from this seminar will serve to feed debate on future strategy.

Culture and regional development: the "Bilbao Effect"

Moreover, within the context of the launch of a report by the European Commission on culture and regional and local development that highlights the Basque Country as an example of good practice within Europe, the Director General of "Bilbao Ria 2000", Ángel María Nieva, will present the "Bilbao Effect" during a conference organised by the European Commission. Produced with the active participation of the Basque Government, this report represents a turning point in the EU cultural policies of the future.

Social cohesion in times of crisis: innovative regional and local responses

Innobasque will also take part in a conference on social innovation coordinated by the Subsidiarity Monitoring Network of the Committee of the Regions. During the conference, Luis María Ullibarri, Director of Innobasque, will be presenting Innobasque's own model, which links social innovation, subsidiarity, and social cohesion. He will also present some examples of good practices.

Electric van

Closely linked to the themes of innovation and sustainable development, the Basque Government and EVE, Mercedes Benz, and the City Council of Vitoria-Gasteiz will be showcasing the VITO electric van at the headquarters of the Committee of the Regions. An information point on the Basque Electric Car Strategy will also be set up. The event will be attended by high level representatives of local, regional, and European authorities.


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