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06.10.06
Project successes taken to EU

Objective One success stories from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are to be showcased to the rest of the European Union at a four-day event in Brussels.

Both Carleen Kelemen and Mark Yeoman, Director and Deputy Director respectively of the Objective One Partnership, have been invited to give several presentations during 2006 Open Days – 'Investing in Europe's Regions and Cities: Public and Private Partner for Growth and Jobs'.

The biggest annual event on EU regional policy will take place in Brussels between October 9th and 12th. This year, the focus will be on private and public investments in European regions and cities aiming at generating growth and jobs.

Ms Kelemen will be leading with a presentation highlighting the hugely successful actnow project. actnow has been part financed through the Objective One European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). Project partners include South West Regional Development Agency, BT plc, Cornwall Enterprise, the Objective One Partnership Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Cornwall County Council, Business Link Devon and Cornwall and Cornwall College.

Led by project director Nigel Ashcroft this project, that has been successful mainly because of the strong public/private partnerships, has led to 99% high speed broadband coverage across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It has also changed the way broadband infrastructure is rolled out across rural regions in the UK and Europe and has given this region's businesses a competitive edge.

Ms Kelemen said: "This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the pioneering successes that have been delivered through the partnerships created through Objective One in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The region has worked hard on the journey to economic growth and we want to share some of these achievements with other EC countries."

Mr Yeoman will be giving a presentation on how the Objective One Programme has used the environment as an economic driver. He said: "The big challenge for economic regeneration is to successfully marry environmental issues into an agenda designed to produce wealth and jobs – using the environment as an economic driver gives us a successful model to do this."

2006 Open Days' partners include more than 130 regions and cities from all over Europe, the European Parliament's Committee for Regional Development, European financial institutions, European business organisations, social partner and civil society organisations, amongst others. The programme is organised under five thematic areas: enterprise investments; innovation; sustainable development; public-private partnerships; management of Structural Funds.

For this event, more than 3000 participants are expected, for more than 100 sessions, seminars and workshops given by 500 speakers coming from 30 different countries.

This year's Open Days marks the end of Objective One and the beginning of Convergence – the next top round of EU investment which Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has qualified for.

Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Commission responsible for Regional Policy, said: "Europe needs higher growth rates, more and better jobs and sustainable competitiveness. But growth strategies that are run from the centre are no longer sufficient; to be effective, they must be integrated with local and regional strategies. Today economic growth is driven by innovation and added value which can be much more efficiently influenced at the sub-national level. Most of the resources essential for innovation – regional technology centres, research institutes, innovative SMEs, bodies providing financing – can be found within the region or a city, at a short distance from the regional, local or urban governance level.

"That is why the focus of this year's Open Days is on regional and local investment strategies, on their efficiency and quality, and on their contribution to the growth and jobs agenda. Open Days will provide a forum for the exchange of best practices in identifying the regions' and cities' responses to the challenges of accelerated changes in global markets, in fully realising their growth potential and leading their own development."

The Regional Economic Strategy will also be launched at the Residence of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU in Brussels with speeches from Commissioner Hübner and Deputy UK Permanent Representative, Anne Lambert. Thirty to forty high-level officials from the Commission and other European networks will participate in interactive workshop sessions.

In addition to this Lorelei Hunt, Director of Innovation at the South West Regional Development Agency, will be presenting at a seminar led by the Irish Regions on promoting regional research and innovation. Matt Smith from the Innovation Team will have a stand at the Investors' Cafe, a state-of-the art meeting place and networking opportunity for business investors and decision-makers from local and regional authorities.

Organised by the European Commission's Regional Policy Directorate-General (DG REGIO) and the Committee of Regions (CoR), the purpose of this conference is to bring together public and private stakeholders, to get them involved in and inform them about practical funding possibilities from the EU. At the same time, this event provides an opportunity to learn from other regional strategies, past experiences and future programming objectives with the aim of providing the most appropriate possible mix between public and private funding for each region.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager for the Objective One Partnership on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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