Written by Christiaan van Lierop,
The world’s largest annual gathering of local and regional representatives, the European Week of Regions and Cities, is undoubtedly one of the high points of the year for the EU regional policy community. Attracting some 6 000 participants to Brussels for four days packed full of learning and debate from 8 to 11 October 2018, this year’s event looks set to be bigger and better than ever before, with over 150 sessions included on the 2018 official programme. What is more, with the EWRC moving to a new central Brussels venue in 2018, Europe’s go-to event for regional policy experts just got better – and the EPRS is delighted to be part of the action once again.
Organised under the headline of ‘For a strong EU Cohesion Policy beyond 2020’, the 16th European Week of Regions and Cities will place a strong emphasis on the current negotiations on the 2021-2027 cohesion policy framework, as well as focusing on such key issues as growth and regional development, the territorial impact of globalisation and digital transformation, and the regional dimension of climate change, as well as education, culture and youth.
As in previous years, the EPRS has published a Topical Digest to tie in with the event. Specially prepared for this year’s EWRC, this publication includes a selection of briefings and studies published by the European Parliament covering some of the main issues up for discussion at the EWRC, such as the legislative proposals under the new cohesion policy package, the digital single market and regional governance, to name but a few.
We will also be present at a special information stand during the whole week where experts from the EPRS’s Structural Policies and Linking the Levels units will be on hand to provide you with more information about EPRS research activities, and to distribute some of our specialist publications on regional policy and beyond. Moreover, we will also be providing visitors with information about the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, supported by our colleagues from Parliament’s Directorate General for Communications, including Parliament’s ‘What Europe does for me‘ project, an easy and clickable guide to what the EU is doing in your local area.
Our involvement in the 2018 European Week of Regions and Cities doesn’t just stop there. For the third year running, the EPRS will also be organising a workshop on research as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities’ Master Class on EU cohesion policy for students and early career researchers. As well as examining how the EPRS supports the work of the European Parliament during the policy making process, this year’s workshop will focus on the current negotiations on cohesion and regional policy, providing participants with the opportunity to share their ideas on the legislative proposals under the MFF package with EPRS experts. In particular, we will be encouraging participants to put forward their recommendations on how to address some of the key challenges identified in the Commission’s proposals, which the EPRS will publish after the workshop. This will give participants the opportunity to make a direct contribution to the policymaking process whilst at the same time putting into practice the EPRS motto, which guides us in all of our work: ‘Empowering through knowledge’.