The Basque Country’s proactive European agenda in the largest regional politics contest organised by European institutions: Open Days 2011

2011 October 9

Coordinated by the Basque Delegation to the European Union and following seven consecutive years of participation, the Basque Country has become one of the most proactive European regions within the European contest Open Days -European Week of Regions and Cities.

Basque initiatives are being selected as examples of best European practice in sustainable development and the creation of new production sectors that generate wealth and employment.

The Open Days, which are celebrated in Brussels between the 10th and 13th of October, represent the main European event in relation to regional policy and coincide with the presentation of the Lehendakari's report on the industrial policy of the European Union before the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions, set to become a European reference text.

Organised by the European institutions and boasting the participation of more than 6000 individuals and 245 regions, the Open Days are an annual European event for debate and the promotion of the best initiatives in terms of local and regional development and economic growth.

During the same period, a busy agenda also awaits the Basque Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, Bernabé Unda, the Basque Minister for the Environment, Territorial Planning, Agriculture and Fishing, Pilar Unzalu and representatives of public and private bodies and local authorities.

The Basque Delegation to the European Union will coordinate the Basque Country's intervention in various acts and working meetings, which will involve the participation of the aforementioned individuals and the Vice-Minister for the Environment, Arantza Leturiondo, Vice-Minister Xabier Garmendia, and the Deputy Mayor of Bilbao, Ibon Areso, amongst others. The working sessions are set to take place in the offices of the Delegation of the Basque Executive and the Committee of the Regions, or in the offices of the Community representation of the Austrian region of Styria.

In this year's Open Days, the Basque Country has centred debate on the Basque sustainable development strategy, Ecoeuskadi2020, the Basque Law on Climate Change, electric cars, mobility, renewable marine energies and local development via the economy of culture. The Basque Country's participation involves close collaboration with Swedish, French, Norwegian, Austrian and Portuguese regions, amongst others, along with the European networks in which the Basque Government is involved.

The Basque Country will present its best initiatives in terms of development and sustainable mobility, renewable energies and local development.

- EcoEuskadi 2020: European recognition for the Basque strategy for sustainable development and economic growth - Minister Unzalu will hold a working meeting with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potoznik, and members of the ENCORE European network (European Network for Conservation-Restoration Education) in order to present the sustainable development strategy EcoEuskadi2020.

Commissioner Potoznik and the remaining European institutions have shown a great deal of interest in EcoEuskadi2020. EcoEuskadi2020 is amongst the first European regional strategies to apply the EU2020 waybill, focused on promoting economic growth within Europe.

- The Basque Law on Climate Change: the Vice-Minister for the Environment, Arantza Leturiondo, will present the Basque Law on Climate Change before the cabinet of the Commissioner for Climate Change, Conie Hedegaard.

- The Basque Country, a European exemplar in terms of mobility, sustainability and clean energies: The Basque Government's Vice-Minister for Industry and Energy, Xabier Garmendia, will present the Basque Government's strategy for sustainable mobility before the presidents of the regions and European public and private bodies. The electric car and the Basque strategy for renewable energies will be proposed as European models to be followed.

The European seminar in which Garmendia is to participate has been jointly organised with the Austrian, Norwegian, French, Portuguese, Swedish and Spanish regions, representing the principal European meeting on mobility and clean energies.

- The Basque electric car strategy, a regional European exemplar with the involvement of private and public partners: IBIL, a public/private company (involving the Basque Energy Agency, EVE, and REPSOL) responsible for electric vehicle charging, will be presented during an event organised by the Committee of the Regions. The European regions have recognised IBIL as the best European regional practice of private/public partnership in the promotion of electric vehicles and sustainable development.

- Mutriku Plant: the first commercial wave energy plant and a global reference - The Mutriku wave power energy plant is one of the first commercial wave energy plants and currently supplies electricity to more than a thousand Basque homes. The Basque Energy Agency, EVE, will present this initiative before representatives of the European regions who are interested in replicating this experience in their own territories.

- Bilbao: a European exemplar of local development via the economy of culture and the creative sector - The Deputy Mayor of Bilbao, Ibon Areso, will present Bilbao and its development via creative and cultural industries and the opportunities afforded by the economy of culture. The "Bilbao effect" has always featured as a European reference point and case study as it demonstrates that the cultural and creative industry acts as a catalyst to the consolidation of economic development at local level and beyond.


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