Through "Europe 2020 Strategy", the European Union established in 2010 the priorities to concentrate the efforts with the final aim to overcome the economic crisis and address the failings of our Model for Growth.

Europe proposal focused on GROWTH according with three axes: SMART Growth, developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation; SUSTAINABLE Growth, promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy, and INCLUSIVE growth, fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.

Within this new framework, the year 2014 will open the new programming period for Regional Policy. After this hard recession, that has thoroughly reversed the convergence process, reaching the objectives defined at Europe 2020 Strategy, seemed to be more and more complicated.

Furthermore, the increasing territorial disparities in Europe, hindered one of the main objectives target by European Cohesion Policy: the goal of economic convergence So that this is the scenario where we left the current Community Framework to address the next seven year period from new premises.

The design of future cohesion programs should reflect these differences, in order to maximize the impact trying to solve the most serious problems. European regions face currently the main challenge of ensuring their economies a prompt return to Growth path.

At this precise moment, Andalusia region finds itself in a crucial time, due to several reasons: the efforts developed over the last years within the Cohesion Policy program, the results accomplished, and specially because it is really essential to have a sustainable framework in order to consolidate the progresses already attained. These achievements will finally evidence the opportunity of the selected choices, the convenience of the developed projects, and the suitability of investments made.

So that, we are now in the moment of balance aiming to share with other regions the experiences, results and attainments accomplished with European Funds support during 2007-2013 period, with the final objective to generate together a new approach that will enable us to better address the next seven year period.

For all these reasons, Andalusia organizes the INTERNATIONAL MEETING. REGIONAL POLICY IN EUROPE: Impact and Challenges for Bussiness Competitiveness.

OBJECTIVES AND CONTENTS

For the new period 2014-2020, the Cohesion Programs should give particular attention to employment-generating and Growth-oriented investments, because only with a strong and stable recovery the current unemployment rates may be reduced. The European Commission propose consists of concentrate resources in a few selected fields: innovation and SMEs, energy efficiency, low carbon economy, ITCs and measures specifically focusing on digital growth.

These are the fields that we aim specifically address at this Meeting in order to know the Commission proposals as well as the evaluation about them coming from regions.

SMEs, one of the main targeted groups of the Cohesion Policy, are specially affected by the entrepreneurial environment decline. Within a context of weak domestic demand, innovation investments, internationalization and RIS3 Strategies in regions should improve their performances.

In this field we give special attention to experiences coming from Regional Development Agencies, being principal agents for promotion of entrepreneurial competitiveness within the European regions.

Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialization will be another prominent subject at the Meeting Agenda. Regions participating will share the state of progress and definition of their respective Strategies as well as the difficulties and lessons learned during the adoption of this new approach.

The Meeting is addressed to institutional and territorial actors that are called upon to collaborate in pursuit of Europe's 2020 objectives.

Moreover, the sessions will facilitate networking and cooperation amongst public administrations, knowledge agents, enterprises and the rests of agents concerned by innovation and regional development.

Within the perspective of year 2020, Andalusia bets on searching for alliances and joint solutions to response to common places and realities, in order to jointly define a coordinated and aligned set of standards that will drive our work.

The actual challenge is that the Economic and Social Cohesion promoted by the European Commission becomes a true reality: this is a responsibility of everyone, and the achievement of the objectives depends on the work of every one of us.

The involvement of the Junta de Andalucía in this event will be 80% co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the 2007-2013 ERDF Operational Program for Andalusia.

Regions can fairly succeed when they take steps collectively, as a whole within the European Union. As Europe 2020 Strategy states: "We need a strategy to help us come out stronger from the crisis and turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. Europe 2020 sets  out  a vision of Europe's social market economy for the 21st century".

#iMeeting