Innovative and inspirational projects from Sweden, Poland, Austria, and two transnational partnerships will tonight take centre stage in Europe as Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, presents the RegioStars 2012 Awards. Together with the President of the Jury, Luc van den Brande, Commissioner Hahn will award five prize categories for good practice in regional development to projects with EU co-investment.
Commissioner Hahn commented: “We repeatedly stress the importance of investing in dynamic and innovative sectors, like research and development infrastructure and energy-efficiency, so Europe can keep making the difference in a more and more globalised economy. This year’s winners are model projects in low-carbon economy, climate change adaptation and combating marginalisation, all with the aim of improving the quality of citizens’ lives. I am proud to say that every one of these projects is leading the way in realising our common Europe2020 goals.”
President of the Jury and former President of the Committee of the Regions, Luc van den Brande added: “To choose the winning projects among so many outstanding entries required some serious probing and generated much discussion. Looking at the individual merit, added value and impact of these projects, the jury felt that every finalist was a winner, but these five particularly shone through”.
All EU regions were invited to submit projects which had received funding from the European Regional Development Fund or the Cohesion Fund after 1st January 2000. In the current 5th round of Awards, the European Commission received a record 107 applications, of which 24 were chosen as finalists. The five Award categories for 2012 are:
- Smart Growth: Innovative projects or schemes supporting service innovation in its different forms.
- Sustainable Growth: Investments in ecosystem services and green infrastructure leading to sustainable regional development.
- Inclusive Growth: Strategies, initiatives or projects addressing the challenge of demographic change and supporting active ageing. (2012 is the “European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations”)
- CityStar Category: Integrated strategies for the development of deprived urban areas.
- Information and Communication Category: Informing the public on the internet about projects benefiting from EU Regional policy.
Tonight’s ceremony will take place at the Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels. It is part of the annual ‘Regions for Economic Change’ conference providing an opportunity for politicians and practitioners from Europe’s regions to discuss key themes around European cohesion policy and showcase projects funded by EU regional funds.