Agorada 2014, the annual meeting of the Association of European Development Agencies, of which the SPRI group, depending on the Basque Government Department for Economic Development and Competitiveness, is a member, was held in Bilbao this month. It provided the opportunity for the Basque Country to become the node for European regional economic development, where the foundations have been laid for smart specialization in participating European regions.
Thus, in addition to hosting the annual meeting of 150 Eurada member agencies, sessions held between 18 and 20 November 2014 proved useful for two important initiatives. On the one hand, forwarding results and sharing experiences about the working system for the two European INTERREG IVC Programme projects in which the Basque Government and SPRI are involved, Know-Hub and TR3S.
Likewise, the new INTERREG EUROPE Programme, which will replace the current one from April 2015 and is still being defined, was presented at Agorada 2014.
INTERREG IVC Programme: European interregional cooperation works
The working groups that took place in Bilbao proved that the experience of European interregional cooperation works. European authorities, through INTERREG IVC, have managed to structure more than 2,000 institutions all across Europe, which have improved their regional development policies, through cooperation, by sharing experiences and good practices in the implementation of 204 different interregional projects in the 2007-2013 period. This wealth of knowledge, generated in projects, now translates into the implementation of specific regional economic development policies in each of the participating regions.
Bilbao managed to create the suitable setting for the working group meetings on the two European projects in the INTERREG IVC Programme that involve Basque institutions, Basque Government and SPRI, namely the Know-Hub and TR3S projects. The working groups were used to train members of both projects in the application of new tools developed and tested in each of them.
As regards the TR3S Project, in the case of the Basque Country it has enabled us to continue developing our RIS3 smart specialisation policies, providing us with enhancement of the interregional cooperation process, specifically basing its strategic focus on a new evolution of the Cluster Policy, the development of new Advanced Manufacturing processes and boosting the Energy sector.
The main goal of both projects has been to provide the regions participating in the consortium with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to design and implement effective smart innovation strategies, thanks to which the regions of the European Union become key players in the development of their own competitive advantages, by applying new types of tools and measures that allow their regional innovation systems to evolve and change their behaviour.
The working method is based on cooperation. Throughout the successive working meetings, the partners in each project have shared their experiences and good practices. During these meetings there have been exhibitions and comparisons based on sectorial or instrumental strategic experiences in the regional development of each of the partners.
New INTERREG EUROPE Programme
The new Programme will be a further step forward in the implementation of tools to encourage the development of a regional level smart specialisation policy in Europe. The Programme will provide new opportunities for European development agencies to benefit from interregional cooperation in research and innovation, the competitiveness of SMEs and an economy that reduces carbon emissions, thereby favouring the environment and efficient use of resources.
The budget for this new programme will come from the European Regional Development Fund, ERDF.
Wrap up Sessión