The European Week of Regions and Cities event was established in 2003, when the European Committee of the Regions invited Brussels-based local and regional representatives to the European Union to open their doors to visitors simultaneously. One year later, the European Commission’s DG for Regional Policy also joined the adventure and, over the years, the initiative was developed into a key annual event for EU Regional Policy.
Exchanges of good practices in the field of economic development and social inclusion, cross-border cooperation, public-private partnerships, regional innovation and community-led local development have become some of its main priorities. It welcomes some 6.000 participants in October annually (local, regional, national and European decision-makers and experts) for more than 100 workshops and debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities.
The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual Brussels-based four-day event, during which officials from regions and cities’ administrations as well as experts and academics have the space to exchange good practices and know-how in the field of regional and urban development. It is also an acknowledged platform for political communication in relation to the development of EU cohesion policy, awareness-raising among decision-makers on the importance of regions and cities within EU policy-making processes.
The European Week of Regions and Cities is the biggest European public event of its kind. The event and its workshops, debates and networking activities are dedicated to members of the European Committee of the Regions, European Parliament as well as national, regional and local politicians; European, national, regional and local government officials and experts in the field of managing and evaluating cohesion policy programmes. Furthermore, representatives of private companies, financial institutions and European and national associations, journalists from European, national, regional and local media outlets and researchers, PhD or masters students and practitioners in the field of European regional and urban policy are invited to participate.
A call for partners is launched early in the year, usually in January. Following the call, over 200 partners from all over Europe are selected. Partners organise seminars of common interest, often in the context of implementing European Structural and Investment Funds as well as other EU programmes.
The European Week of Regions and Cities also encourages local events across Europe. In connection with the Brussels-based European Week of Regions and Cities, each Regional partnership is invited to organise local events under the ‘Europe in my region/city’ initiative within the framework of a citizens’ dialogue or political debate and include a member of the European Committee of the Regions. The objective of these citizens’ dialogues is to listen and report back directly on the discussions taking place in cities and regions. Since its beginning, the impact of this event has been has been recognised by the participants who highlighted in particular the usefulness of information from the EU institutions and the networking opportunities with colleagues from other countries as being relevant to their professional management of EU funds.
This year the event was focused on these main themes:
The Future of the EU and the roles of the Regions and Cities
A Europe Closer to Citizen
A greener Europe
A smarter Europe
A more connected Europe: mobility
A more socially integrated Europe
The event this year took place from 07. – 10. Of October and has gathered over 9100 participants from 70 countries, 1300 speakers on 386 sessions, with 200 journalists reporting on the event.