Paolo Soro

Smart specialisation for European regions

Commission acts to help regions build resilient economies in the era of globalisation.

Globalisation has brought enormous benefits to the less-developed economies of the world and many opportunities for Europeans; but while the benefits are widely spread, the costs are often borne unevenly as the Commission's reflection paper on harnessing globalisation highlighted.

To take up the challenge of economic modernisation, Europe needs to empower its regions and help them create value.

This means embracing innovation, digitisation, decarbonisation and developing people's skills.

This the reason why, the Commission is proposing today a new set of actions to further help Europe's regions invest in their niche areas of competitive strength ("smart specialisation") and generate the innovation, resilience and growth needed.

Introduced in 2014 in all regional policy programmes smart specialisation has made a real difference in the way European regions are designing their innovation strategies, creating or reinforcing cooperation at all levels, especially with local business spheres.

The Commission intends to build on this positive experience with two pilot projects:

• Tailored support for the specific challenges of regions facing industrial transition: on their request, certain regions can work in partnership with teams of Commission experts to boost their innovation capacity, remove investment barriers, equip citizens with the right skills and prepare for industrial and societal change, on the basis of their smart specialisation strategies.

• Interregional innovation partnerships supported by EU funds: inspired by the success of the Vanguard initiative, the aim of this pilot project is to identify and scale up 'bankable' interregional projects that can create European value chains in priority sectors such as big data, bioeconomy, resource efficiency, connected mobility or advanced manufacturing.

In parallel, the Commission will step up its efforts to help Member States address remaining bottlenecks to growth and establish business-friendly environments.

Particular attention will be given to the quality and openness of public research, cooperation between businesses and universities and the alignment of local skills-bases with market demands, with the help of Commission support facilities.

The Commission will also look at ways of facilitating further synergies and combinations between the different innovation, growth and competitiveness EU programmes and instruments that currently exist.

Source: EU Commission News

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