Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

 

Assembly of European Regions

Written by Pascal Goergen, Secretary General of the Assembly of European Regions (AER)

Pascal Goergen

Secretary General of the Assembly of European Regions

Since 2013, Assembly of European Regions turns more and more to the business sector with the ambition of creating closer links between private partners and regions throughout Europe, thereby offering them win-win partnerships. In the framework of this initiative, the Assembly recently launched in cooperation with the Abruzzo region (IT) its Business Community.

While businesses can lend their expertise and share their vision in their field of knowledge, AER facilitates the access to the regional decision-makers and acts as a hub for companies, including dynamic SMEs, within the wide regional network. “Instead of proposing business to business relations, we put forward economic exchanges through regions to regions. This is the added value of our Business Community. We will help a regional enterprise to promote and internationalize itself among our 230 member regions.” [Pascal Goergen, AER Secretary General]

Designed to improve competitiveness for all, this Community is made up of cooperation agreements with the private sector and involves privileged co-founders (Accor, BNP Paribas Fortis, Brussels Airlines, UNICAP Television, Volvo) and other members, which will be placed in close connection with regional decision-makers and included in the work of AER. Moreover, AER extended its audience and its activities through the creation of the network “AER Dynamic SMEs” in order to enhance the key role of SMEs for European economic development. “It is important to underline that nowadays, 99% of European enterprises are SMEs. Regional authorities have the responsibility to provide concrete solutions to this new design”, stated Giovanni CHIODI, President of Abruzzo (IT), at the official launch of the Business Community. 

Some concrete projects have already came out from these partnerships, such as the new AER campaign “European Regions”, led together with UNICAP Television, which gives the opportunity to AER members to promote their region through a TV series broadcasted at international level. This truly unique project is reflective of the constantly innovative activities of the Assembly. A lot of regions have expressed their interest in being part of this adventure and the production team is already working on it. Another concrete example: one of the latest AER business partners, Volvo, will open in May its doors to an AER delegation in the Polish region of Dolnoslaskie for a field visit. 

AER at a glance

An Executive Board and a Bureau, composed of regional representatives and high-level politicians, are in charge of shaping AER policies. These policies are implemented through three thematic Committees – economy and regional development – public health and social policy – culture, education, youth and international cooperation – as well as two transversal issues (Institutional affairs – Equal opportunities). The diversity of actions is one of the major strengths of the Assembly.

Furthermore, AER also manages its own programmes. For example, great successes have been achieved with Eurodyssey, the first mobility programme for young professionals at European level, which remains today a particularly effective tool to facilitate the entry of young people into the labour market. In 2013, around 500 young people had the opportunity to get a first professional experience abroad and to acquire linguistic skills in the same time. A Youth Regional Network is also working hand in hand with AER to give the floor to young people in all its activities. In addition, AER created its Youth and Students Community in order to involve them even more in its activities.

In another field of work, RUR@CT is a very efficient programme aiming at learning from European regions’ innovating experience and allowing the transfer of good practices from one region to another. Established in 2008 by the Limousin Region (FR), it has already paid off, capitalising 155 best practices and supporting the implementation of over 40 action plans towards territorial innovation. 

In addition, member regions can benefit from the expertise of the two AER Centres. The Regional Expertise Centre aims to make available a unique database of regional best practices and advisory services on the various sources of funding for European projects, while the Training and Academic Centre provides regional officers and elected leaders with a high-level platform allowing them to exchange with experts from diverse backgrounds on regional policies.

Each year, AER organises activities across Europe allowing regions to continuously gain visibility and spread their regional interests. Ensuring lobbying for its members and facilitating interregional cooperation between them, AER has become a strong and reliable partner for regional growth. AER President, Hande Özsan Bozatli, underlines that “Involving as many regions as possible in our activities remains AER’s core business and we will definitely be by their side to face the new forthcoming challenges.” 

As an official partner of the 12th edition of the European Business Summit, the Assembly of European Regions shows its commitment in facilitating the relations between the business sector and the European regions. 

About AER

The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regional authorities in wider Europe, bringing together nearly 230 regions from 35 countries and 15 interregional organisations. Established in 1985 by regional politicians convinced that the European construction should be built together with the regional level, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional cooperation. AER’s current  President is Mrs Hande Özsan Bozatli.

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