The global trend towards urbanisation is unstoppable. Cities are the driving force of economic development, which fuels the attractiveness of cities for citizens through a wide range of professional, educational and recreational possibilities. Cities all over the world face the challenge of combining competitiveness and sustainable urban development simultaneously. Currently, 54% of the world's population live in cities. The numbers continue to rise and by 2050 it is expected that 66% of the global population will be urban citizens.
This calls for effective urban planning which leads us towards cities that combine open spaces and the possibility for dialogue amongst the generations with innovation and effective use of resources. Regarding to that The Hanns Seidel Foundation and VDE – the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies organized a conference "The good Life in Smart Cities" on 11th November 2014 in Brussels which hosteed policy makers and experts from Germany and Brussels. To make an efficient "Smart City", the concept has to connect applied innovation, better planning, more participatory approach and higher energy efficiency as well as better transport and ICTbased solutions.
The delegation of 10 Ministry of Transport employees came to Bruxelles for a study trip on 7th November 2014. During the visit they have a meetings in European institutions and also with Representation office of Dubrovnik Neretva Region in Brussels.
A key activity of the Study trip for staff in the Ministry to discuss issues around EU funding and EU projects. During the meeting participants discussed about the transport connection of Dubrovnik Neretva Region and the possibility in structural and cohesion funds and examples of good practice.
The Île de France Region Brussels office organized 3 days titled "Île-de-France, a Smart Region!" from 4th to 6th November 2014. The event was opened by the president of the Île de France Europe, Pierre Kanuty.
Digital economy was the topic of the first day of the event. Digital innovation is at the very core of economic and societal transformation. The seminar was the occasion to showcase public policies and initiatives implemented at EU and regional levels. Day 2 was titled "Towards Sustainable and Innovative Mobility" and featured a review of Île-de-France's Sustainable Urban Transport Plan, the European Commission's support for local and regional authorities and a presentation by Barcelona on the Smart Cities initiative, among others. The last day of the event covered the thematic field of circular economy.
Grounding their analysis on Île-de-France examples, local stakeholders and European institutions' representatives not only debated the existing projects, but also discussed the next further steps allowing the circular economy to become a concrete reality through better-coordinated policies, a more accurate legal framework and a boost of the research and innovation sector.
Mayors from Dubrovnik - Neretva County visited Brussels within study trip organized by the Regional Development Agency DUNEA. During the four-day visit to the center of the European they had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the work of the European institutions, but also the possibility of funding for various projects from European funds to which they could apply and eventually withdraw the funds at their disposal for their realization.
The President of Dubrovnik-Neretva county Nikola Dobroslavić presented the work of the Office of Dubrovnik-Neretva County in Brussels to the mayors on the first day of their study trip.
They also got acquainted with the possibilities of withdrawal of funds from the cohesion funds through which to Croatia, untill 2020, will be allocated about 8.8 billion euros for Strengthening the competitiveness of the economy, employment and youth education projects related to environmental protection, natural resources and heritage, and improving the efficiency of public administration through greater involvement of civil society.
Particularly interesting was the visit of the Microsoft Innovation Centre in which mayors met with platforms that allow easier operation of local governments and their closer relationship with citizens.
Mayors with the President Dobroslavić visited the building of the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the Permanent Representation and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia.
The Economic crisis brought unemployment rates to extremely worrying levels and unemployment, especially among young people, has become a major problem in Europe in these latest years.
According to Eurostat, the unemployment rate of EU 28 member states increased by 10% in the last 5 years, from 2008 to 2013. Even more alarming is the situation for young Europeans: one out of five cannot find a job.
Because of these discouraging figures in the EU Member States, understanding how the European and global labour market is changing becomes a priority.
On the East Forum 2014 conference, organized by Unicredit and the geopolitical magazine EAST in partnership with the European Council on Foreign Relations in Brussels on October 24th was discussed about how to change the Labour Market with focus on young entrepreneurs and their start - ups. The speakers from private sector discussed about the importance of investments and support for a new wave of young entrepreneurs and innovators. On the last panel experts stressed the important role of Public Policies in developing and attracting talents, and making them move around.
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