Barroso calls ECO an EU role model 

On Monday, the President of the European Commission held a speech at the opening of the “11th Open Days – European Week of Regions and Cities” in front of 200 local and regional political representatives.

This year, the Open Days took place under the motto “Europe’s regions and cities taking off for 2020”. President Barroso encouraged the local and regional decision-makers to participate in the debate about Europe’s future. He admitted that the problems of the financial crisis should not be underestimated, but he also said, that they should not be overestimated either. For coping with the situation, the president demanded endurance, determination and creativity.

In his speech, President Barroso also welcomed the strong focus on matters of urban development and highlighted that “today, cities already accommodate 75% of our population, constitute 80% of the energy consumption and produce 85% of the European

GDP. And there is no doubt that the 21st century will be increasingly urban. Until the year of 2020, up to 80% of our population will live in urban areas.” The president referred to the “amount of 325 billion Euros for cohesion policy”, which was agreed on this summer, and he added that “each Euro spent from the European funds must contribute to real, measurable results with a perceptible effect on site… It is not our idea to have some kind of regional policy, which is separated from the rest and restricts itself to nly… It must also be considered – and I’m sure you will do this in some of your workshops – how the financial support for regional policy can contribute to the promotion of research and innovation most effectively”, he added.

President Barroso presented two examples for start-up companies and innovation centres, which play an important role in sustainable development: on the one hand, the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto (UPTEC), from which not only the city benefits, but also the Portuguese region Norte, where around 800 jobs were created, and on the other hand, ECO World Styria in Austria, which is a good example for how a reasonable programme promoting environmentally friendly technology can also create added value for the policy of the European Union and Austria. Both are successful examples for how in innovation areas, synergies between economy and science can be promoted at a local level.