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The 19th European Week of Regions and Cities is nearly ready to launch, Source: European Committee of the Regions

19th EURegionsWeek is around the corner: Here is what to focus on

19th EURegionsWeek is around the corner: Here is what to focus on

A helpful guide to make sense of all the variety

The clock is ticking and soon the 19th edition of the European Week of Cities and Regions (11-14 October), taking place in Brussels, will be upon us. This year, Europe’s premier cohesion and regional issues event is pushing the boundary even further with a 3D exhibition featuring virtual stands that present selected participants and projects.

With a true cornucopia of panels, speakers, workshops and debates one may feel a tad overwhelmed. Worry no more, we at TheMayor.EU are always on hand to offer some expert advice on making the right choices. We did our own curated selection of sessions, picked in a way that will give you a proper sample of the Week and will not stir up the old fear of missing out.

The organizers made sure to define four main themes that will underlie the whole event. We made it even more digestible by singling out sessions from each of the thematic clusters.

Cohesion

In a way, the whole EURegionsWeek is about cohesion in one form or another – given that the idea is to equalize the field for all Europeans. Here are our two picks that drive that point closer to home.

The first of these also happens to be the Opening session of the 19th European Week of Regions and Cities (11 October, 14:30-16:00), attended by EU Commissioner for Cohesion Elisa Ferreira and Committee of the Regions President Apostolos Tzitzikostas. This is where leaders will get to take stock and summarize the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in a format described as a ‘TV show panel’.

Later in the week, we can also find out what lessons have been learned by local, regional and UN authorities. Representatives from all of these will attend the workshop pointedly called “Lessons learnt for a resilient recovery and to build a better future” (13 October, 16:30-18:00). Not to be missed out!

Digital Transition

That our world is becoming ever more connected and digital is a fact that hardly needs any affirmation. What is next for all of us, however, is to think how technology can help us get more resilient – the last year and a half has been a constant reminder of that necessity.

In that sense, you can attend the workshop “Resilient cities and regions – the role of digitalization” (12 October, 11:30-13:00). Best of all, its outcomes will directly inform the Committee of Regions’ policy recommendation for the Conference on the Future of Europe. In fact, many of the Week’s workshops will have the goal to engender proposals for the Conference.

At TheMayor.EU, we may often report on cities, but we are not ones to forget the importance of the countryside, either. In that sense, we can’t forget that the digitization effort, like everything else, would only make sense if it reaches every corner of the continent and leaves no one behind. That is where the session “Small & connected is beautiful: Fostering digital inclusion and innovation through Rural/Micro Hubs” (14 October, 9:30-11:00) will offer an innovative solution to that challenge with the introduction of ‘micro hubs’.

Green Transition

Then there is also the other big transformational process currently taking the EU by storm – the green transition. What’s best is that it often overlaps with the New European Bauhaus initiative that seeks to rethink our public spaces. Lo and behold! There is the ideal workshop for that – “The New European Bauhaus and its relevance for citizens – Shaping a more beautiful future in Europe” (12 October, 9:30-11:00). If you still feel unclear on what the NEB is all about this session will definitely help to put it in perspective.

Luckily, there is something akin to a second episode to the previous workshop. This one, called “New European Bauhaus: connecting the EU Green Deal to our living space” (14 October 9:30-11:00), will expand the concept even further and draw the perspectives for what lies ahead and how you can participate!

Citizens Engagement

As you know by now, we are also partial to the importance of heritage and its role in our present lives. Here is how intangible heritage can serve to draw in members to engage and create communities. Find out by watching the information session “INTRA Games: Inclusive Traditional Games” (12 October, 9:30-10:30). It will showcase good practices and examples from several countries. Game on!

When speaking of people’s engagement, we need to also consider their inner needs and challenges. The “Recover (Me)ntal” participatory lab (13 October, 16:30-18:00) will be there to take things to this important, often overlooked, dimension, made a bit more prominent in the wake of the COVID pandemic. The Lithuanian city of Klaipeda (European Youth Capital 2021) will lead the effort into generating solutions.

As you see, our choices run the gamut of different perspectives on the kind of challenges laying ahead of local and regional authorities. It also represents the diversity of issues and solutions that the EURegionsWeek is here to tackle every year.

If you haven’t signed up yet, hurry up and register ahead of next week!

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