On 22 February 2018, national representatives from 25 EU member states, Commission officials and cluster policy experts met in Brussels during EU Industry day to share experiences and discuss how to better use and develop clusters for driving industrial change and growth. Wallonia was one of the participating regions at the forum and was given the opportunity to give input on how to design and implement effective cluster policies that can create cluster-driven growth. Both in the background paper prepared for the event as well as at the forum, the Vanguard Initiative was pointed out as a good example on how to engender interregional synergies and strategic complementarities through smart specialisation strategies and cluster organising.
Cluster policies in Europe are at very different stages of development. But despite these differences, it is well-known that good cluster policies can strengthen and improve the competitiveness of national and regional industrial ecosystems. Therefore, against this backdrop, national representatives from 25 EU country ministries, cluster policy experts and Commission officials decided to meet in Brussels during the EU Industry day to promote discussions on how cluster policies can effectively support industrial modernization and growth in Europe, as well as how to identify challenges ahead at European, national and regional level, and outline where participants see needs for policy action.
The aim of this first ever meeting on addressing cluster policies was also to share practices and experiences of cluster design and implementation as well as to create a common platform on how to improve cluster initiatives and policies at national and regional levels. Wallonia was one of the invited regions at the forum, and had the opportunity to hold a presentation and to give input on how one should proceed in designing and implementing effective cluster policies that can create cluster-driven growth and synergies between cluster initiatives.
Wallonia is also a Vanguard Initiative Member Region and in Wallonia’s presentation, Florence Hennart, representative of Wallonia, pointed to the Vanguard Initiative as a good example on how to engender interregional synergies and strategic complementarities through smart specialisation strategies and cluster organising, and went on to describe how the Vanguard Initiative has allowed Wallonia to scale up and discover real industrial strengths.
The Vanguard Initiative was also referred to in the background paper that were produced before the European Cluster Policy Forum, wherein the Vanguard Initiative essentially is pointed to as a good example of interregional collaboration that has allowed European regions to matchmake their smart specialisation strategies and to find complementary cluster initiatives that can create cross-sectoral synergies.
The next European Cluster Policy Forum will take place on 26 April 2018 in Brussels. The meeting will mainly focus on cluster excellence and state-aid topics.