The 14th edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), organised by the Committee of the Regions and DG Regio, was held under the slogan “Regions and cities for sustainable and inclusive growth” in Brussels from 10th to 13th October 2016. The programme was structured around three thematic priorities: 1. Sustained and sustainable economic growth; 2. Inclusive economic growth; 3. Making ESI Funds simpler.
Workshop “Youth Entrepreneurship: the key to boost competitiveness and growth in the regions“
Within the EWRC 2016, AP Vojvodina was, through the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina – Vojvodina European Office in Brussels, a part of the regional partnership “Entrepreneurship Education for Economical Growth” with the following regions: Umbria Region (Italy), Northern Ireland (UK), Podlaskie Region and Swietokrzyskie Region (Poland), Prešov Region (Slovakia), Karlovac County and Varaždin County (Croatia), and participated at the workshop “Youth Entrepreneurship: the key to boost competitiveness and growth in the regions” held at the Northern Ireland Executive Office on 11th October 2016.
The speakers at the workshop were European and regional experts, involving Ivan Stefanec, Member of the European Parliament, whereas the first panellists addressing “Strategic approach to youth and vocational education” were Anita Vella, Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate-General form Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, and Simone Baldassarri, Policy Officer, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission. On behalf of the partner regions, the speakers were Anna Augustyn, Chief Specialist, Association of Bialystok City Functional Area; Frankie McCourt, Invest NI; Maja Lehman, Advisor for regional development at Varaždin County Development Agency and Grzegorz Orawiec, Director of the Regional Policy Department, Marshal Office of the Swietokrzyskie Region. The speaker at Panel 2 “Best practice in supporting entrepreneurs” was Guy Lejeune, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. Regional experiences were presented by Anna Ascani, Head of European Affairs Department of the Umbria Region; Marijana Maksimović, Deputy Director, Guarantee Fund of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina; Slavomír Kožár, Director of the Secondary Technical School of Electrical Engineering in Prešov; Maja Lehman, Advisor for Regional Development at Varaždin County Development Agency; and Biserka Marčinko, School of Economics and Tourism in Karlovac County. The moderator was Caroline Jenner, Chief executive officer at JA Europe, Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.5 million students in 39 countries in 2015.
The aim of the debate was to showcase the impact of entrepreneurial education and training to support growth and business creation. The event provided insights into available instruments and programs and showcased its impact on business creation and growth through inspiring testimonials from alumni entrepreneurs. It was a great opportunity for regional authorities to discuss about removal of existing administrative barriers and supporting entrepreneurs in crucial phases of the business lifecycle. It was also a field to share regions’ most successful practices in this area and to show innovative strategic approach to that matter, by the regional authorities. The aim of the event was to establish a dialogue between political decision-makers and stakeholders and explored how EU regions and cities can move further ahead in promoting inclusive entrepreneurship, including changes of educational methodology on all levels towards the real needs of the regional markets, start-ups support initiatives, youth awareness initiatives etc. The best practices showed how the abilities and attitudes acquired by young people will help them not only to take charge of their own lives and to influence their own futures but also to play an active role as citizens of Europe.
Marking Vojvodina Day in Brussels – Experience Vojvodina Reception
Marking Vojvodina Day in Brussels, the Experience Vojvodina Reception was held at the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union on 12th October 2016, when the capacities of Vojvodina were presented to other European regions and cities, as well as investors interested in investing in Vojvodina. It was jointly organised by the Provincial Government, Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Vojvodina Investment Promotion (VIP) and European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. The participants at the event were addressed by Ana Hrustanović, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the EU; Igor Mirović, President of the Provincial Government; István Pásztor, President of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina; and Miloš Vučević, Mayor of Novi Sad.
The event was also a Side event of the EWRC 2016.
In addition, during the EWRC 2016, with the support of the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels, the delegation of AP Vojvodina had a number of meetings with the officials of EU institutions, among whom was Eduard Kukan, EMP and Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, and Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director of the Western Balkans department, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), as well as a number of bilateral meetings with the representatives of several European regions, such as the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Hessen, Austrian state of Styria and Osijek-Baranja County of Croatia.
The Vojvodina delegation presented to the regional representatives the priorities of the Provincial Government related to an intensified economic development, agricultural development and investment targeted at lesser developed municipalities of Vojvodina, and according to feedback received, those were areas where the cooperation could be enhanced. The opportunities for student exchange as a part of their training were also discussed at all meetings. The participants in the meetings agreed that the most important segment that made Vojvodina a good example in the region, as well as in Europe, was the approach toward national minorities and fostering a high-level of multi-ethnicity.
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016 – Proceedings