Annex B: Typology of Actions to Support Delivery of the Strategic Priorities Networking This includes participation in interregional and transnational projects and (new) EU wide networks. The NW region (through regional, sub-regional and sectoral partnerships) already participates in a number of such networks, including Eurada, NETA, EuroChambres, Eurocities, EIRA and Cities for Cohesion. These networks are in the main dominated by the region’s current interest in Structural Funds, Cohesion policies and transport. Regional co-ordination of Interreg projects takes place via the NWRA. Little is currently known about other networks that the region participates in, particularly in relation to business development, sector development, FE/HE and rural development. Lobbying/Influencing The exact extent and scope of lobbying activity to be undertaken by the NW region is unclear as this will depend on policy area, resources, etc. In addition, there will be a need for the NW to respond with an appropriate regional level of policy development. Whilst some may argue this is additional red tape, if the region’s interests are to be represented in the EU, policy statements from the NW should be recognisable in EU terms. The same applies for responding to proposed directives and funding programme proposals. Research & Intelligence A co-ordinated EU research and intelligence function is fundamental to the NW’s activity in the EU to give early warning to NW stakeholders. The Brussels offices are clearly the main antennae for identifying the latest intelligence and proposals from the Commission. At the same time, this has to be informed by activities, concerns and, most importantly, priorities, in the NW. One of the applications for the Regional European Framework is to ensure that the relevant EU issues are brought within the NW’s processes and procedures as a matter of course. Too often, the EU element is an add-on. Lines of communication between the Brussels offices and the NW agencies must be clear. The Framework suggests that the European Advisory Group has to play a more crucial role in this respect. Funding Maximising the potential offered by the whole range of EU funding sources, not just the Structural Funds, is a major objective. At present, there are any number of non-structural Funds, R&D projects under FP6, funding for eEurope activities, etc, but relatively little collective awareness of a) what is on offer and b) what NW players are involved in. The current experience of collaboration around Interreg projects can easily be transferred to other areas of EU policy. Awareness of new funding programmes and the deadlines involved should be quickly disseminated to potential applicants by a co-ordinated EU research and intelligence effort, based upon the five Brussels offices. The Regional European Framework should begin to provide a framework for sharing information and intelligence to reduce duplication.
a regional european framework for action