Arantza Tapia, Basque Government Minister for Economic Development and Competitiveness, took part in the High Level Meeting of the so-called “vanguard regions” in Brussels.
The representatives of the 15 European regions met to sign the declaration-letter to be sent to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. The letter requests that the position of these regions be included on the agenda for the forthcoming European Council, to be held in March. It specifically calls on the European Council to move forward in the process for the regions to participate in the new European industrial growth, proposing alignment of strategic plans and strategic investments, as well as transforming regional clusters into worldwide clusters.
During the work sessions with the 15 “vanguard” regions, discussions were held with representatives of the European Commission and members of the cabinets of the European Commissioners in charge of driving the new growth policies, in order to jointly develop a new approach towards European innovation and industrial policy based on smart specialisation.
As Minister Tapia stressed and recalled in her speech to her European counterparts, regions play a key role in modernising European industry through innovation, as the regions are the closest political level to represent and support the future of European industry, and by contributing to international competitiveness.
The Basque Country has been one of the most active regions since the initiative was launched. The activities and initiatives of the “vanguard regions” are going to play an active role in applying the key points in the letter sent to the European Council, as well as participating in European forums and consultation in different European decision-making processes.
The 15 regions have joined forces in order to defend new growth through smart specialisation in the European agenda. Smart specialisation is included in the European innovation policy, in order to drive innovation in all European regions by focusing on their strengths. The European smart specialisation strategies bring together all the stakeholders and players that form part of the regional innovation system, in order to come up with competitive solutions to the challenges facing society, such as growth and employment.