On 26 November, the Vanguard Initiative’s lobby efforts to defend the newly proposed EU-funding scheme “Interregional Innovation Investments” took another dimension during a session organised in Bilbao, during the smart specialisation thematic platform days. The event in Bilbao gathers more than 100 regions from all 25 partnerships from the three Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms.
These are defining times in Brussels. The European Commission’s proposals on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2017 are part of passionate discussions in the European Parliament and the European Council, who will soon vote on these texts which will define the future EU-policy support framework. The Vanguard Initiative welcomes the MFF policy package, and has suggested a number of improvements, which are being promoted in impressive policy influencing efforts coordinated by the Policy Influencing Task Group.
A proposal particularly welcomed by the Vanguard Initiative is the “Interregional Innovation Investments”, the so called component 5 (C5) scheme proposed by the Commission as part of Cohesion Policy’s European Territorial Co-operation (ETC). This newly proposed scheme is inspired by the Vanguard Initiative’s Pilot Projects and the problems they face in taking considerable steps forward in creating truly European industrial value chains. Component 5 would also benefit all partnerships operating under the three Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms on Industry Modernisation, Agro-Food and Energy. The Vanguard Initiative, logically, promotes and defends this proposal.
34 Vanguard member regions can do a lot, but +100 regions can do more. This is why the Vanguard Initiative organised a dedicated session on component 5 on 26 November in Bilbao. All co-lead regions of the 25 currently active partnerships were present in the city at the occasion. In front of a full room, representatives from Vanguard member regions explained the added value of component 5 to the audience, updated them about the policy lobbying efforts of Vanguard towards the Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European Parliament (EP) and the European Council, and actively invited them to join forces in this crucial exercise.
All participants fully realised the high potential of the proposed “Interregional Innovation Investments” for their own activities, and agreed to address their regions’ members of the CoR and EP. Furthermore, regions from the same Member State will join forces to address their national governments.
The Vanguard Initiative is confident that the Bilbao meeting will prove to be an important moment in our policy influencing activities, and the effort to upscale its scope and impact. We actively ask everyone to continue the efforts, until the moment of the final vote by our national governments in the European Council. We encourage an active communication effort, for example by using the Twitter hashtag #weloveC5, which was launched during the Bilbao meeting.