REGIONS IN INDUSTRIAL TRANSITION. NO REGION LEFT BEHIND
On 8 May 2019 the European Commission (DG REGIO) published a brochure presenting the first, promising results of the launched pilot actions to support ‘Regions in Industrial Transition’, ’Coal Regions in Transition’ and the creation of new value chains through interregional investment in innovation. The aim is to capitalise on Europe’s strengths: its diversity, dynamism and the willingness of actors at national, regional and local level to test new approaches.
The pilot action on "Regions in Industrial Transition" was launched at the beginning of 2018 in order to help regions undergoing industrial transition to develop new approaches to restoring their growth and productivity. Ten regions and two small Member States were selected to work in partnership with teams of experts from the European Commission to boost their innovation capacity, remove investment barriers, equip workers with the right skills and prepare for industrial and societal change, based on their smart specialisation strategies. By focusing on specific challenges related to industrial transition, the pilot seeks to develop new policy tools for regions and cities to address these challenges.
The first phase of the pilot action on Regions in Industrial Transition focused on the analysis of existing policy instruments and on identifying future challenges. These regions benefited from tailored assistance from Commission experts organised in “regional” teams from several Commission departments and from the European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change1. In collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, the OECD organised a series of thematic peer-learning workshops around which a number of policy conclusions were drawn on how to address industrial transition.
On this basis, the twelve pilots will each receive support in the form of a €300,000 grant to trial a new approach to industrial transition. This aims to test a policy response to one or several challenges identified during the peer review workshops and reflected in the regions’ economic transformation strategy.
The pilot action “Creating new value chains through interregional investment in innovation”:
In order to benefit from the globalised economy, regions and cities need to create new value chains that allow them to scale up their good ideas in the EU single market. This means bringing businesses, researchers, public authorities and people from across the EU who work on developing smart specialisation priority areas in their territories to match their competitive strengths and develop innovative projects. In order to test new approaches to building these value chains, the Commission launched a call in 2017 and selected nine interregional partnerships. These partnerships have benefited from support from special teams established within the Commission, involving experts from several thematic departments2. In addition to this hands-on support from the Commission, each partnership can benefit from external advisory services up to a value of €200,000 for scale-up and commercialisation activities from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This approach inspired dozens of regions to propose portfolio of innovation ideas. They will feed into investment projects to be developed in various areas (see the brochure for more details).