Proactive Basque participation in the 19th European Week of Regions and Cities
Again this year, the Basque Country has proactively participated in the activities and forum organised by the European institutions as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities/EWRC2021. Coordinated by the Basque Country’s Delegation to the EU, and with different Basque stakeholders and institutions taking part for the 18th year running, the EWRC2021 has shown itself to be the EU’s leading forum to bring into play and position the voice of local and regional authorities on the European agenda regarding the main European and global challenges.
The representatives of the Basque Government, specialised public agencies, Basque municipalities, educational sector and economic partners took part in the more than 8 forums and seminars with their European peers and partners. A wide range of areas were covered, including renewable energy, the blue economy, the New European Bauhaus, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specialisation and skills in the jobs of the future, smart cities, the sustainable food ecosystem, along with the legislation and its territorial impact.
18th Basque participation at EWRC2021:
The Basque Country’s Delegate to the European Union, Marta Marín, took part in the session jointly organised by the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission, on the territorial impact in the EU legislative procedures and their link with territorial cohesion. The Basque Government’s representative in Brussels took part in a simulation where she provided the Basque dimension and where the participants worked on a legislative proposal and impact assessment.
On the other hand, Jonan Fernández, the Basque Government’s General Secretary for the Social Transition and 2030 Agenda, took part in a seminar on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their link with the COVID recovery policies. During the seminar organised by the OECD and the Committee of the Regions along with other European and international cooperation entities, the General Secretary presented the Euskadi 2030 Strategy, and its link with the Euskadi NEXT strategic initiative (the Basque programme that brings together the recovery and resilience measures) and the IV Voluntary Local Review to report on the 2030 Agenda in the Basque Country.
As regards future skills in the field of sustainability and cooperation in learning factories with the direct involvement of VET students, and coordinated by the EARLALL network and along with other European partners and institution, Rikardo Lamadrid, the Advance Apprenticeships and Technology Director at the Basque Government’s Deputy Minister’s Office for VET, along with a representative of the Miguel Altuna Centre, spoke at different seminars. The experience and initiatives driven in the Basque Country, along with other partners in that regard, were presented. Special mention was made of the role of VET in the educational excellence initiatives organised by the European Commission with other European authorities, where the Basque Country is going to lead the process.
As regards offshore wind, wave and tidal power, Cristina Oyón, the SPRI Director of Innovation and Sustainability, was invited to speak at the session organised by the European Commission along with other European partners. The SPRI Director spoke about the initiatives in the Basque Country to use marine energy as a specific response to the net-zero targets.
Equally closely related to the blue economy and the European innovation strategy and applicable to the Atlantic area, the EVE (Basque Energy Board) representative, Olatz Ajuria, spoke in a forum in that regard and coordinated by different European authorities and networks.
Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bilbao were also represented at the 2021 European Week of Regions and Cities, with the participation of Ane Oregi, the Vitoria-Gasteiz Councillor for Territory and Climate Action, and Ohiane Aguirregoitia, the Councillor for Citizen Participation and Assistance in Bilbao. The representatives of the two Basque provincial capitals spoke in seminars on the New European Bauhaus and Vitoria-Gasteiz’s response, and on smart cities and the example of Bilbao, respectively.
Finally, and likewise with Basque participation, the five Category 4 finalists of the Regiostars Awards 2021 – Urban Europe took part in a dialogue to showcase the most innovative and striking characteristics of their projects, along with their contribution to establishing green, fair and health food systems that are sustainable and resilient.