The project "yBBregions" approved by the European Commission started its activities on 1st September 2014 in framework of the European Voluntary Service (EVS). The project is based on a transnational youth exchange of four EU regions, namely: Dubrovnik-Neretva County (Croatia), Abruzzo region (Italy), Prešov region (Slovakia) and Lubuskie region (Poland). The project aims to provide young people from the four partner regions the opportunity to participate in the work of regional offices based in Brussels, to learn about the work of the European institutions, about EU policies, programs and initiatives, as well as to exchange experiences and knowledge with participants from other regions.
The opportunity to participate in this program from 1st September 2014 to 30th November 2014, gained Ms. Marina Pavlovic.
"During the three months of my work in Brussels, I gained invaluable knowledge and experience related to the activities of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Office and the EU institutions. To better understand and be able to perform daily tasks at the office, I took part at number of conferences, debates and discussions organized in the European Commission, Parliament, Committee of the Regions, representative offices of other EU regions, but also many other institutions. The themes of the events I attended were different, what greatly helped me to expand the knowledge and insight on politics, regional development, culture, EU funding and more. Also, attending such events, I had the great honor to meet Croatian MEPs, as well as many other important people among whom European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu. Among others, I took part in events such as EuroPCom, Sixt Cohesion Forum, Design Days and the European Week of Regions and Cities (Open days) within our office organized the exhibition "On the trails of medieval tombstones Stećci" and the conference, as the lead partner in the Adriatic Ionian macro-region, entitled "EU Strategy for the Adriatic Ionian macro-region: The role of the Regions in implementation", both in the European Parliament . Also, I must mention that we have organized the event of sharing "Neretva mandarin" front of the European Parliament and to point on the problem of mandarin producers from our county after placing an embargo on imports from Russia. In the framework of the office activities I participated in the organization of a study visit to Brussels of Prefect and Mayors of our county.
I believe that participation in this project is an excellent opportunity for young people. Not only I have improved my professional skills, but I've developed the ones of personal and social nature. Since the project is based on cooperation of four partner regions in the youth exchange, I had the opportunity and honor to meet and live with three other project participants from Slovakia, Poland and Italy. It is interesting to share experiences, views and opinions with people from different countries and with different cultural backgrounds. In the framework of the activities I was doing, the working language was English, occasional some conferences were held in German or Italian, I can say that I have also improved my language skills. However, with all activities related to work in the office, I had enough time to get to know Brussels, but also the surrounding cities such as Antwerp, Gent, Brugge, Ostend and others.
To conclude, the project offers a unique combination of acquiring knowledge and experience, improve language and communication skills, acquire new contacts and discovering Belgian cities and culture. One of the best life decisions was to become part of this project because I was had the chance to develop myself on professional and on personal level."
The Assembly of European Regions, together with finance. Brussels, the Region of Brussels-Capital and Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), organized a seminar "Investing in SMEs - How to meet the needs of the regional entrepreneurial fabric and make the most of support tools" in Brussels on 20th November 2014. The seminar aimed to gather the stakeholders to hold concrete discussion and share experiences in the field. Regional authorities, managers of SMEs, experts and investment agencies were welcomed to join the panel of experts to address the topic - and shape tomorrow's investment policies towards the regional entrepreneurial fabric.
After the whole day seminar, participants were welcomed to join the study visit which included the visit to the Vanparys Dragees - the confectionery and chocolaterie which began as a family business founded in 1889 by Felix Vanparys and today is the official supplier of the Royal family, NUMECA - a company founded by the University professor Charles Hirsch as an start-up, and today is recognized as the most innovative company in the field of software toolsets that support the world's leading industries, Real Impact Analytics - a start-up founded in 2009 by two young entrepreneurs which succeeded to develop it into a leading company for telecom analytics in developing markets all over the world.
The 6th European Innovation Summit, organised by Knowledge4innovation, took place from 17th to 20st November 2014 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The programme featured more than 25 conference sessions and discussions on topics of great importance for everyone working in the area of innovation and more than 100 high-level speakers from the European Parliament, the European Commission, the educational and the private sector. The motto of the this year's edition was 'A Mandate for Innovation in Europe' which highlighted the strong belief that innovation should be a top strategic priority in the new institutional cycle of the European and the centerpiece of a revised Europe 2020 strategy.
For a sixth consecutive year the event brought together EU's political, business, academic and scientific elite and provided a valuable opportunity for networking and sharing experience with other innovative organisations and high level EU policy makers. The program of the 6th European Innovation Summit featured conference sessions on important "horizontal" aspects of innovation such as Framework conditions for innovation, TTIP, Horizon 2020, as well as parallel sessions for specific sectors for which innovation is the major resource to overcome the big challenges ahead – agriculture, energy, transport, health, climate, IT.
During the four days of the event, the participants also had the opportunity to visit the special EIS Exhibition Space where a number of organisations presented concrete cases from their day-to-day experience and demonstrated their innovative and technological achievements and solutions.
The Launch Conference of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) was organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European , in cooperation with the European Commission, and together with the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and Marche Region on 18th November 2014 in Brussels.
The aim of the event was to gather all key actors to create the framework for implementation of the Strategy. The governance and management structures of the Strategy are organised around its four pillars, namely: "Blue Growth", "Connecting the Region" (Transport and Energy), "Environmental Quality" and "Sustainable Tourism".
Prominent national, local and international authorities, including the European Commission, spoke in the Conference, chaired by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. The institutional session followed by a technical plenary session was addressed to the key implementers (national and regional authorities responsible for the EUSAIR and the management of EU funds, EU institutions, regional organisations and bodies). This event was the opportunity to present how the Strategy will be structured, at its different levels, and to gather useful inputs to outline a well-performing system, in the framework of a multi-level governance.
The conference "How to shape EU Energy Policy so as to boost European competitiveness?" held on 17th November 2014 in Brussels brought together high-level representatives of national and European institutions, authorities, industry, research centres, academics and civil society. This event offered a unique opportunity for public discussion between the main political decision-makers and industry CEOs and debate among participants.
It offered the opportunity to analyse and discuss all the crucial and sensitive components of an EU energy that is able to contribute to boosting European industrial competitiveness: economic, financial and technological conditions required to develop renewable energy and other domestic energy resources in order to reduce European dependence on third-country suppliers; development of infrastructure and internal as well as cross-border interconnections; tax components of energy prices and network costs; moderation of energy demand and increase of energy efficiency; adjustment of the EU emissions trading system (ETS); diversification of suppliers and supply routes; etc.
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