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The Lehendakari presents the Basque intercluster policy at Harvard University

2011 October 19

The Centre for European Studies held a conference on the Basque economic model


The renowned Harvard University held a workshop on "Competitive Transformation in the Basque Country: the role of clusters" wherein the Lehendakari explained the Basque Government's commitment to the generation of synergies between different sectors "so that businesses in distinct clusters can reinforce their cooperative links and find business opportunities together". The purpose of this intercluster initiative is to "unite efforts and work with a collective vision", something that the government, businesses, chambers of commerce and agents of knowledge have been putting into practice during the business mission that has now been on American soil for four days. Over the course of the next few years, this strategy will guide the actions of the Basque executive, which hopes to confirm "at least 6 cooperation projects between different sectors within the framework of this initiative".


In this context, the Lehendakari explained that the current situation of global crisis obliges the different economic agents to act in a global manner and focus on internationalisation. The Lehendakari commented that "globalisation has shown us that our competition does not reside in the town beside us, but rather thousands of kilometres away", as an example of the change of paradigm that is taking place across all economic sectors as they already know that "today there is only one market and it has no borders". "Thus, we know that it is only through the combination of efforts and willingness that we will make a small region like our own become the spearhead of the Spanish and European economy", he added.


During the round of questions, as an element differentiating the Basque economy, where the situation is less critical when compared to the economies of its neighbours, the Lehendakari drew attention to the profile of the Basque business community, "which seeks to make money", and above all, the consensus that has existed for decades within industrial policy.


There are currently eleven associations that work as priority clusters in such different sectors as household appliances, machine tools, the motor industry, electronics, the environment, energy, aeronautics, the paper industry, maritime industry, Bilbao port and the audiovisual sector.


The Lehendakari also highlighted the agreements reached with large companies in the region (Iberdrola, Petronor, Mercedes) to involve them in these strategies and jointly search for leadership in niches of opportunity with bright futures (electric vehicles, smart networks, natural gas...). "In such a manner that these projects allow us to take draw in, through them, the remaining companies in the region. And it's working", he stressed. Amongst these projects, the Lehendakari cited the Basque Country's adhesion to the Climate Group, the proposal to co-host the EV-20 and a version of the G-20 focused on the electric car.

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Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)