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November 2012 (issue 96)

EU News Bulletin

Funding opportunities

News & Policy developments

Events

The inside track on EU affairs for Ireland’s local and regional levels. Produced in association with

FUNDING, NETWORKING & PROJECTS Call: Transport Networks

Articles Inside: Partner searches

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7th Environment Action Programme

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Atlantic investment and research priorities Public website accessibility

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Smart Specialisation Strategies for a green economy ‘Skills & Jobs’ conference seeks good local examples Resource-efficient growth prospects outlined

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Public Procurement Implementation review

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Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water Fracking: Commission position clarified

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Regional economic restructuring through service innovation Intelligent Energy Europe: Networks call for continuation Your exhibition space in Brussels during Ireland’s EU Presidency Entrepreneurial regions

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On 29 November, the 2012 set of Calls for Proposals under the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) multi-annual and annual programmes were published, making €1.265 billion available to finance European transport infrastructure projects in air, rail, road, and maritime/ inland waterways, as well as in logistics and intelligent transport systems.

new infrastructure; the promotion of intermodality and improvement of network safety and reliability; the establishment and improvement of intermodal terminals and their access infrastructure by deploying ITS for Europe-wide traffic and travel information services; traffic management services; freight & logistics; and road safety and security as well as the development of the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) (€50 million).  European Rail Traffic Management Systems (ERTMS), enabling interoperability on the European rail network (€100 million).  River Information Services (RIS), involving intelligent traffic management infrastructure on the inland waterway network (€10 million).  Air Traffic Management (ATM), implementing the Single European Sky and ATM modernisation objectives (€50 million).

The multi-annual programme finances the highest priorities of the network. This year's multi-annual call focuses on:  Critical, cross-border or bottleneck sections of the 30 TEN-T Priority Projects (PPs) (as set out in annex III of the TEN-T Guidelines to include: ‘’UK/Ireland/Benelux road axis’’; ‘’motorway of the sea of western Europe (leading from Portugal and Spain via the Atlantic Arc to the North Sea and the Irish Sea)’’; and ‘’Railway/road axis Ireland/United Kingdom/continental Europe: linking Dublin with the North (BelfastLarne) and South (Cork)’’ (€725 The annual programme complements the multi-annual programme and directs million).  Motorways of the Sea (MoS): funding to four distinct priorities:  The acceleration/facilitation of the infrastructure- and facilities-related implementation of TEN-T projects projects and studies to provide (€150 million) viable and sustainable alternatives  Support measures to promote to congested roads by shifting innovation and new technologies freight and logistics transport to sea for transport infrastructure and routes between Member States. This facilities contributing to may deal with the deployment of decarbonisation or the reduction new technologies and systems to of external costs in general (€40 increase efficiency and effectiveness million). by fostering innovation as well as  Support to Public Private with revitalising peripheral regions Partnerships (PPPs) and the (€80 million). application of innovative financial  Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS): instruments in order to attract the optimisation of the capacity and more private funding for the efficiency of existing and [continued overleaf]


[continued] deployment of strategic TEN-T transport infrastructure projects (€25 million).  Support to the long term development of corridors to enable a coordinated implementation of the network (€35 million).

identify opportunities for the private sector to add value; feasibility studies; qualitative studies such as socio-economic analysis, risk analysis, strategic analysis of project investment decisions; and studies for the implementation of TEN-T corridors as well as rail freight corridors. Deadline: 28 February 2013

Potentially financed actions could include studies and works for mature projects for all modes; technical studies to define output specifications; 'market scan' to

Further details

Partner Searches: This office has received requests to source partners for the following current funding bids:

‘’Our Biodiversity’’ - using statistical analysis for secondary school students to investigate biological diversity around local countryside [Comenius].

 Improving technical vocational and educational training Urgent: Using exchanges among social workers, youth through working with the students and with teachers/ workers and teachers working with young adults and responsible staff [Leonardo da Vinci Mobility – two families experiencing poverty and social exclusion to separate project ideas]. develop guidelines on prevention, detection and treatment plans for child poverty, educational drop-  ‘’Environmental influence on young people’s social behaviour’’ – including aspects of ecology, solidarity, outs, early intervention, and safety and security respect and tolerance values, and European awareness outreach [Leonardo da Vinci Partnership]. [Comenius].  New cultural heritage tourism as a source of income in cities with monuments at risk and undergoing  ‘’Mini-plant in mobile containers of furniture [FP7 Factories of the Future 2013]. restoration [FP7-SSH-2013-2 / SSH.2013-5-2-2 Transmitting and benefiting from Cultural Heritage in  Creation of a Europe-wide certificate for vocational Europe]. training in gastronomy for students with low qualifications or handicaps [Leonardo da Vinci  Improving vocational education and training providers’ Multilateral Projects for Development of Innovation]. understanding of the skill-set and competences needed 

from the future workforce in the construction and  Interaction focusing on maths and science energy/technology field to tackle environmental competences to broaden senior secondary school challenges [Leonardo da Vinci Partnership]. students’ social, IT, logical and artistic skills as well as intellectual, linguistic, musical, technical and economic  Supporting the acquisition and development of future knowledge and abilities [Comenius Multilateral key competences in the education sector through Partnership]. entrepreneurial learning - including responsibility, creativity, decision-making and cooperation - and ICT,  Fostering European awareness - based on culture, and measuring levels of entrepreneurship [Comenius politics, principles and values - among the senior Regio]. population through the development and provision of Higher Education Institution programmes [Grundtvig  ‘’Motivation on Vocational Education’’ - focusing on Learning Partnership]. sport and the chance to develop personal and 

professional skills [Comenius multilateral partnership]. 

Exchanges between municipalities/organisations which have experience in receiving refugees and have welldefined strategies and methods [Leonardo da Vinci Programme]. 

Development of new guidelines and methods to support young people to remain in education [Comenius].

Exchanges between professionals (managers and practitioners) within the welfare services, e.g. elderly care/home care services, social services, labour market and childcare and education [Leonardo da Vinci ].

Delivering training programmes to support the transnational mobility of pupils undertaking qualifications in the field of sales of food products and customer relations [Leonardo da Vinci Mobility]. Non-violent communication (based on compassion, understanding and empathy) among stakeholders within the education system (teachers/educational administrators and pupils) [Comenius Regio].

Contact us for further details. Please request access only to specific searches which are of genuine interest to you. We can also circulate your own draft project ideas to regions and cities across Europe. 2


NEWS & POLICY sustainable path by ensuring that the environment is more resilient to risks and change.

New Environment Action Programme proposals Following an extensive consultation of stakeholders earlier this year, on 29 November the Commission DGs for Environment and for Climate Action brought forward their proposal for the 7th Environment Action Programme (7EAP) – the overarching framework for EU environmental policy-making for 2013-2022 and outlining actions that need to be taken to tackle key challenges in this field. Entitled ’Living well, within the limits of our planet’, the proposal sets out strategic directions whereby appropriate EU intervention can contribute to Europe achieving sustainable growth, green job creation and the delivery of better health and well-being set against a backdrop of enhanced nature protection, ecological resilience and resource efficiency. This draws on a number of recent EU initiatives, including the Resource Efficiency Roadmap, the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and the Low Carbon Economy Roadmap. The stated long-term vision is that, by 2050 ‘’we live well, within the planet's ecological limits. Our prosperity and healthy environment stem from an innovative, circular economy where nothing is wasted and where natural resources are managed in ways that enhance our society's resilience. Our low carbon growth has long been decoupled from resource use, setting the pace for a global sustainable economy.’’ The proposed Programme aims to ensure collective ownership of this EU environmental agenda (including among local and regional level stakeholders) and to mobilise appropriate action. It also emphasises the need for structural environmental reforms in response to significant challenges as presenting opportunities for the EU and its Member States to move rapidly onto a more

Nine priority objectives – arranged according to thematic, enabling framework and spatial dimensions – have been identified to focus action upon: (a) to protect, conserve and enhance natural capital; (b) to turn the EU into a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy; (c) to safeguard citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and well-being; (d) to maximise the benefits of EU environment legislation (through implementation); (e) to improve the evidence base for environment policy (including scientifically); (f) to secure investment for environment and climate policy at appropriate prices; (g) to improve environmental integration and policy coherence (including how environmental concerns and requirements are reflected in other policies); (h) to enhance the sustainability of European cities; (i) to increase the EU’s effectiveness in confronting regional and global environmental challenges. Concrete steps suggested – and which the European Parliament and Council will now consider – include phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, shifting taxation from labour to pollution, drawing up partnership agreements between Member States and the Commission on implementation of EU environmental law, and developing a system for tracking environment-related expenditure in the EU budget. Proposal Submission from Ireland to the 7EAP consultation

Atlantic investment and research priorities As the EU Institutions and the 5 Atlantic Member States continue to put together an Atlantic Action Plan (see October’s Bulletin) by which to drive the EU Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean, the Commission’s DG for Maritime Affairs has launched a 'call for suggestions' to identify key investments and research priorities required in order to create sustainable jobs and growth in Europe’s Atlantic coastal areas. Interested stakeholders are invited to respond with input – including concrete project ideas – for developing the ‘blue economy’ based on innovation and technology in relation to either areas of largely untapped sustainable potential, such as ocean energy, or the revitalisation of traditional maritime industries, such as fisheries. Suggestions should be focused on one or more of the five challenges of the Strategy: 1. Implementing the ecosystem approach. 2. Reducing Europe's carbon footprint. 3. Sustainable exploitation of the Atlantic seafloor's natural resources. 4. Responding to threats and emergencies. 5. Socially inclusive growth. Call for Suggestions Atlantic Strategy Indicative list of key investment and research priorities made by 5 Member States 3


Public website accessibility

Smart Specialisation for a green economy

On 3 December, the Commission presented a proposal for a Directive which would introduce mandatory EU standardised accessibility features on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites from the end of 2015.

A new DG REGIO guidance paper for ERDF Managing Authorities provides pointers as to how the concept of ’Smart Specialisation’ – a prerequisite for the next round of Structural Funds programmes – could pan out.

The proposed new rules would clarify what web accessibility on behalf of the visually-impaired and hard-of-hearing means in terms of technical specifications, methodology for assessment, reporting, bottom-up testing. These new standards would apply to 12 categories of websites dealing with: vehicle registration; planning permission; public libraries; notification of change of residence; enrolment in higher education or university; income tax; labour market activation services; social security benefits; the issuing of personal documentation; birth or marriage certificates; declarations to police; and interactive advice on healthrelated services. In addition, governments would be encouraged to apply the rules across all public online services.

‘Connecting Smart and Sustainable Growth through Smart Specialisation’ offers a practical guide to the development and roll-out of integrated, place-based research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3). These are intended to provide the basis by which knowledgebased productive assets and interconnections at national, regional or local level (as appropriate) can be drawn together in an inclusive, bottom-up sense so that policy support and (mainly private) investment can thereby be channelled towards a limited set of viable domains of expertise and potential in relation to the low-carbon and resource-efficient economy. The guide provides concrete recommendations and examples of good practice in areas such as ecoinnovation, the bio-economy and ecosystems (including NUI Galway’s involvement in the EnAlgae project on biomass production and bio-energy technologies to accelerate the commercialisation of the seaweed sector) as well as renewable energy and adaptation to climate change. As such it is intended to facilitate discussion between public authorities and stakeholders on the planning and deployment of complementary innovation and green economy measures at local and regional level – issues which take centre stage in the Commission’s proposals for the future of Cohesion Policy to mobilise the potential of European regions. This is one in a series of RIS3 guides prepared recently by the Smart Specialisation Platform set up by the Commission.

According to the Commission, a single set of accessibility rules would mean website developers could offer their products and services across the whole EU without extra adaptation costs and complications. This could unlock an underperforming market valued at an estimated €2 billion. Currently, despite most Member States already having national laws or measures on web accessibility in place, just one in three public sector and government websites across the EU would comply with the proposed full standards – leaving close to half a million sites requiring improvement. The proposed Directive now goes to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for adoption. Member states would have to put national rules and regulations in place by 30 June 2014.

Guide

Further details

‘Skills & Jobs’ conference seeks good local examples As part of efforts to survey, analyse and evaluate how the Europe 2020 Strategy’s Flagship Initiative ‘Agenda for New Skills and Jobs’ is being implemented on the ground, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) will hold a major European conference on 28 February and 1 March 2013 in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. In order to ensure that the viewpoint of regions and cities is properly represented, and to contribute to the ongoing assessment of Europe 2020, the organisers are inviting local and regional authorities to provide input which will contribute to the discussion in Dublin and possibly be showcased as part of the programme. This involves: 

A questionnaire seeking brief feedback on: skills and jobs policy challenges and responses at local and regional level; the relevance of this EU Initiative to the situation in regions and cities; the responsiveness of national policies, particularly the National Reform Programme process; and institutional cooperation and funding issues. These responses will also contribute towards the CoR’s general mid-term review of Europe 2020.

An opportunity to share details of your local good practice on employment, training and mobility policy – including projects and complete strategies – and of the obstacles encountered and results achieved. This also applies to suggesting good practices relating to the other Europe 2020 Flagship Initiatives in advance of the subsequent thematic conferences on ‘European Platform Against Poverty’ (10 April), ‘Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era’ (29 May), ‘Digital Agenda’ (2 July), ‘Resource-Efficient Europe’ (6 September), and ‘Innovation Union’ (26 November).

Questionnaire (deadline, 21 January 2013). Good Practice form (deadline, 10 January 2013). (Username: europe2020guest@cor.europa.eu; Password: Europe2020) 4


Member States have pledged support Potocnik outlines A further recognised challenge In terms resource-efficient growth prospects to. A wide-ranging speech at the Irish Institute for International and European Affairs on 19 November saw Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik emphasise his long-term vision for the green economy in Europe and in Ireland. The Commissioner outlined how his mandate has sought to change perceptions of environmental policy in Europe from something seen as impeding business and economic growth, or simply a stick with which to punish polluters, to being appreciated as a means of preventing otherwise inevitable brakes on growth and competitiveness from coming to pass.

The Commissioner flagged up three upcoming initiatives from his DG in particular:  Policy papers to tackle sustainability and efficiency gains in the high-impact areas of food and buildings – both taking a holistic approach along the whole value chain from production, processing and distribution, to use, reuse, recycling and disposal.  An intention to exploit the potential of the Single Market to boost supply and demand for more green goods and services, and to encourage companies to improve their environmental performance and reduce resource use. This is to be aided by work on developing common ‘’environmental footprinting’’ methods to calculate the sustainability of products and of organisations based on life-cycle assessment, and through further work on the eco-design and energy labelling of certain categories of products.  A planned update of EU targets in waste legislation in order to keep pace with the policy agenda for resource efficiency. This will hasten the demise of landfill as an option with ever greater emphasis on recycling – an area of great promise in terms of both cost savings and generating additional economic activity.

According to the Commissioner, this has involved grasping the nettle of not only environmental degradation, but also of increased competition for scarce resources for food and business production inputs. In a bid to give environmental matters more of a crosscutting character in relation to sectoral policies, DG Environment has been trying to make resource efficiency a guiding principle for policy-making in fields such as agriculture, energy, transport, industry and research. Areas in which this can be witnessed include Commission recommendations to Member States to shift the burden of taxation from labour to pollution, for the phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies, and to do more to exploit the growth and jobs potential of waste and water management, or As yet less developed work is also underway at EU level on agreeing the green public procurement. steps necessary to bring about ‘’a He cautioned of the need for Europe to circular economy’’ which will move prepare for a managed transition now away from a culture of repeated to decouple growth prospects from extraction and discarding to one of intensive and wasteful resource continued redeployment of product depletion and its negative components. This means designing for consequences, through smart recyclability, repair and re-use; investment and innovation – rather developing new business models, than to continue on a business-as-usual better markets for secondary raw basis where supply shocks and materials and sustainable sourcing; and disruptive consequences lie in wait. putting in place local systems to benefit This, he claimed, was the thinking industry. On this, the Commissioner behind the Resource Efficiency Flagship picked out the example of the SMILE of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its Resource Exchange free service associated actions – notably long-term supported by the EPA and local roadmaps for a resource efficient and authorities and Enterprise Boards in for a low carbon Europe, which Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Clare. 5

of industry linkages, is the need to provide the right conditions for private sector investment in order to drive improved resource productivity across the system. This needs to focus on high potential innovation ‘’through the application of existing and new technologies, through new business and market systems, new behaviour and through design’’. In this vein, Potocnik spelt out the requirement for proper incentives and cited a recent increase in the EIB capital to be directed towards leveraging up to €60 billion for resource efficiency projects over the coming 3-4 years. Staying on the financial front, the Commissioner drew attention to the fact that, from 2014 onwards, the Commission is seeking a 50% budget increase for the budget of the dedicated LIFE+ programme on the environment, while also proposing that all three major expenditure elements of the EU budget – CAP, Cohesion and Research & Innovation – will be noticeably greener and more resourceconscious in their respective focuses. This will include greater emphasis on farming practices safeguarding and valuing ecosystem services and public goods such as the water protection and biodiversity qualities of pasture land. Meanwhile, an earmarking of 60% Horizon 2020’s €80 billion budget is being sought for addressing sustainability and climate change issues. The Commissioner concluded by outlining what he sees as the key dossiers in his portfolio for the upcoming Irish Presidency to bring forward. As well as securing agreement on the new European Environment Action Programme (EAP) (see article above), these include a review of urban air quality policies with job creation and reduced energy benefits in mind, plus the development of a policy framework for shale gas exploration (see article below). ‘‘Green Growth for Ireland and Europe’’ speech SMILE Resource Exchange


Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water On 15 November the Commission launched a ‘Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources’ - a strategy to provide that the preservation of good quality water is seen as not only an environmental protection, health or well-being issue, but also as having ramifications for sustaining economic growth and prosperity over the next two generations. While the existing Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the legal basis for protecting clean water across Europe and for ensuring its long-term, sustainable use, including setting the target of achieving healthy status for all sources by 2015, the new Blueprint is the EU's policy response to the continuing challenges – notably pollution, excessive abstraction by agriculture and energy production, and the impacts of climate change – which are threatening delivery of these goals. Dealing with both quality and quantity concerns in Europe, the Blueprint proposes a tool box of measures that Member States can deploy according to circumstances to improve water management at national, regional and river basin levels. Its proposals are based in large part on extensive public and stakeholder consultations and on assessment of River Basin Management Plans as required by the WFD. It sets out a three-tier strategic approach:  Improving implementation of current EU water policy by making full use of the opportunities for innovative solutions as provided by legislation. This includes increasing the take-up of natural water retention measures such as the restoration of wetlands and floodplains as well as improving implementation of the "polluter pays" principle, in particular in agriculture, through usage metering, water-pricing and better economic analysis.  Increasing the integration of water policy objectives into other relevant policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries, renewable energy, transport and with regard to the Structural Funds.  Filling the gaps of the current framework, particularly in relation to the tools needed to increase water efficiency (including through eco-design in buildings’ water-using devices). In this regard, the Blueprint envisages ‘’water accounts’’ at river basin level as the basis for efficiency targets to be set by Member States and the development of EU standards for re-use. The proposals have been drawn up as a way of ensuring that the EU water industry can develop fully according to its growth potential and that all the economic sectors that depend on availability of water of a certain quality can prosper, thereby creating growth and job opportunities. A European Innovation Partnership on Water to pool supply-side, demand-side and knowledge stakeholder resources across the sector; to accelerate research, development and market deployment as part of its modernisation; and to boost its competitiveness was launched by DG Enterprise & Industry in May 2012. The implementation of the proposals outlined in the Blueprint will fall under the WFD’s participatory process involving Member States, nongovernmental organisations and businesses. The Blueprint also represents a key milestone of the 2011 EU Resource Efficiency Roadmap. Further details

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Public Procurement Implementation Review The inaugural review assessing the implementation of the rules on public procurement in the EU was recently published. This has been compiled by the Commission in order to highlight the challenges involved in collecting, analysing and reporting on the data regarding the application of procurement rules by Member States – something which is deemed essential to better understanding problems and addressing concerns in providing for the correct, efficient and effective application of rules across the EU. The Review is structured in three chapters, the first of which details the economic significance of the European public procurement market, the second presents an overview of national structures for applying procurement law and of the situation with regard to eprocurement and central purchasing systems, while the third addresses the implementation of EU law including infringements at European and national levels and the experiences acquired from managing EU funds from the procurement perspective. Feedback received from Member States reveals significant discrepancies in terms of availability of information on various aspects of procurement, its depth and comprehensiveness. This in turn influences the manner in which such information can be used and possible conclusions drawn on the basis of it. First Annual Public Procurement Implementation Review


Fracking: EU position clarified DG Environment addressed growing controversies over the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for hydrocarbons in a statement issued by Commissioner Janez Potocnik on 19 November. This was in response to recent requests that the Commission should intervene in order to prevent shale gas extraction in Europe, on the basis of potential climate and environmental risks. While noting the extent of concerns expressed, and their bearing in relation to EU legislation on the protection of health and the safety of humans and environment - environmental impact assessments; surface and groundwater protection; the management of waste from extractive industries; the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals; as well as the safeguarding of environmentally protected areas - the Commissioner pointed out that it is solely the responsibility of the Member States to ensure the compliance of exploration activities on a case-by-case basis. This requires appropriate assessment, licensing, permitting, monitoring and inspection regimes. The Commission has not been legally endowed with the competence to intervene to this extent, nor can it decide on an EU-wide ban, whereas individual Member States such as the Netherlands have already imposed temporary moratoria and France and Bulgaria have prohibited fracking practices outright. Nonetheless, the Commission wishes to point out that, from its side, it is addressing the ongoing adequacy of its legislation in the face of these relatively new techniques. A technical working group of Member States on environmental aspects of ‘’unconventional fossil fuels’’ was recently established to exchange information about project developments, potential environmental risks and applicable technical and regulatory practices. Equally, work has begun to bring forward an adequate risk management framework on this issue in Europe, by the end of 2013. At the beginning of September, the Commission published three new studies looking at this field. These examine the potential risks shale gas developments and associated hydraulic fracturing may present to human health and the environment; potential climate impact of shale gas production; and potential effects of these fuels on energy markets.

Regional economic restructuring through service innovation Following a call for expression of interest by DG Enterprise & Industry earlier this year, Northern Ireland has recently been chosen as one of the initial 6 regions in which the newly established European Service Innovation Centre (ESIC) will operate on a demonstration basis. ESIC has been given a mandate to support regions in the design of better policies to rejuvenate and transform existing industries, and boost emerging sectors, by unlocking the transformative power of service innovation to facilitate entrepreneurship and create more productive, competitive and higher value-added economic systems. This will involve providing analysis of and advice on ongoing developments in order to raise decision-makers’ awareness of the role played by service innovation and to systematically promote the uptake of tailored and effective policy options and interventions. During this first phase of its roll-out, ESIC will provide personalised support to its selected pilot regions by conducting a series of peer-review stress tests in order to analyse and identify the strengths and weaknesses of their service innovation policies as well as potential barriers and scope for enhanced policy action. The tests will be followed by structured policy dialogues that will inform recommendations as to how each region could improve its policy framework to better capitalise on service innovation. More generally, ESIC will evolve to systematically collect evidence and data from the implementation of service innovation policies across Europe and also publish a Service Innovation Scoreboard to indicate the latest trends in, and progress made by, regions. It will also produce recommendations and analytical work that will assist regions to choose the most effective ways to support service innovation systemically. Belfast will host a workshop on “How to capitalise on the transformative power of service innovation for structural change?” on 5 - 6 February 2013, where ESIC representatives and the pilot regions will discuss how to better implement a systemic approach that can harness the full potential of service innovation leading to tangible and measurable impacts. Further details ‘Smart Guide to Service Innovation’ Belfast event (limited availability)

Potocnik statement Studies

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Intelligent Energy Europe: Networks call for continuation A Joint Open Letter calling for EU Member States to maintain support, from 2014 onwards, for climate and sustainable energy actions at local and regional level through the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme, was circulated at the end of November by 6 separate networks of European regions and cities. Climate Alliance, Energy Cities, ICLEI (Local Government for Sustainability), Eurocities, FEDARENE (European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and Environment) and ERRIN (European Regions Research & Innovation Network) have come together to back the establishment of a third generation of IEE – this time as a dedicated subprogramme of the €80 billion Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation. The current programme is a pillar of the broader Competitiveness & Innovation Programme (CIP) whose innovation aspects are to be, by and large, subsumed into Horizon 2020. While there are no guarantees as of yet as to IEE’s continuation, in line with a recent European Parliament recommendation, this position paper argues that a programme along the same lines and with similar objectives would fit well as part of Horizon 2020’s ‘Market Uptake of Energy Innovation’ focus. As a contribution on the ground to the EU objectives of achieving widespread green growth and a sustainable economy, as well as to meeting its high-level climate and energy targets, the letter highlights the need for continued support for the IEE approach of innovative non-technological energy solutions at community level. This entails not only support for the transposition of EU legislation into local policies for energy savings and renewables but also for such actions as organisational innovation and the ground-breaking application of existing technologies and skills; networking and capacity-building; development of management models and financing schemes; collaborative actions between local authorities, regions, the private sector, and research and higher education institutions; and helping to overcome market failures. These, it argues, are indispensable complements to the purely technological innovation which will characterise the bulk of Horizon 2020’s focus. Among the additional ongoing benefits claimed for an adequately supported IEE programme are:  the continuation of the Covenant of Mayors initiative to advance cities’ and towns’ local sustainable energy policies and performance;  innovative financial instruments addressing local level energy plans such as the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) and Mobilising Local Energy Investments (MLEI) initiatives for technical assistance;  the stimulation of a greener, more stable economy rooted in innovation, SMEs and local jobs, and greater energy security.

Your exhibition space in Brussels during Ireland’s EU Presidency As a meeting place for representatives of regions, cities and municipalities from across Europe, the Committee of the Regions’ (CoR) has contacted this office to offer the use of its premises in Brussels to Irish regions and local authorities during the 6 months of the upcoming Irish Presidency of the EU. This would serve as a space in which to exhibit design and/or visual woks by local artists or best practice of EU co-funded projects. In general, such exhibitions run in periods of 2 weeks. Uptake of this offer may be arranged through your CoR member or directly in advance of Christmas through pauliina.makarainen@cor.europa.eu. Further details

Entrepreneurial Regions The deadline for applications to become European Entrepreneurial Region for 2014 (see July’s Bulletin) has been significantly extended to 28 February 2013. To apply, local or regional authorities are required to submit an entrepreneurial vision document, backed by political commitment, and comprising an action plan including details of proposed implementation measures and communication activities. Further details

Working for Ireland’s local and regional levels in Europe Chaussée d’Etterbeek 180 B-1040 Brussels www.iro.ie Robert Collins Ronan Gingles Head of Office

EU Policy, Research

robert.collins@iro.ie

& Communications ronan.gingles@iro.ie

Tel: +3222331122

Tel: +3222331120

GSM: +32498120821

Joint Open Letter Reproduction of content is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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November 2012 EU Bulletin from the Irish Regions Brussels Office