Research and Innovation Days 2021, Source: European Union

Research and Innovation Days 2021 stresses the indispensable role of local actors

Research and Innovation Days 2021 stresses the indispensable role of local actors

Recovery plans will only be successful if regions and local authorities are involved in their creation and implementation

What are the roles of regions and local authorities? How can they help Europe achieve its long-term goals? Are they at the forefront of the recovery process? These are some of the questions which were explored at a plenary session on 24 June at the European Research and Innovation Days 2021.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth first addressed the crucial roles of regions and local authorities, explaining that working alongside them is the only way to ensure a sustainable recovery and make the green and digital transition of Europe a reality.

Regions and local authorities are closest to citizens

Earlier this year, the European Commission introduced the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) which aims to help European economies and societies recover from the economic and social impact of the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless, the implementation of these recovery and resilience plans can only be sustainable and effective if regions and local authorities take part in their creation and implementation.

The reasons behind this were discussed by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, First Vice-President of CoR Vasco Cordeiro, Member of CoR and Mayor of Gabrovo Tanya Hristova, Regional Minister for Economic and Business Development in Navarra Mikel Irujo, Minister of Science, Research and Arts in Baden-Württemberg Theresia Bauer, and Director of European Research Area & Innovation at the Research and Innovation Directorate General of European Commission Anna Panagopoulou.

All six speakers agreed that the regions and local authorities are closest to citizens, present in the local areas, and familiar with their people’s needs. As such, they are equipped to inspire citizens, coordinate with them, and translate major strategies into local measures.

Theresia Bauer commented on the strategic roles of local actors, noting: “Great challenges such as the COVID crisis require great and united responses. This is also true for the climate crisis.” Taking this further, Bauer stressed that it is only through coordinated European action that we will be able to succeed in achieving major objectives.

Commissioner Gabriel echoed this idea when she shared the key highlights of the discussion. More specifically, she stated: “Without regions in the phase of codesign and cocreation, it will be impossible to achieve our ambitions.” With this in mind, she urged regions and local authorities to speak up and share their experiences to deliver recovery and realise European goals.

Ultimately, recovery plans can only be successful and sustainable if regions and local authorities are involved in their design and implementation.

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