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Workshop "Integrierte Strategien..."

Integrated Strategies to Secure Public Services - How Can Regions in Europe Learn From Each Other?

International Exchange of Experiences at Euregia Leipzig

More than 100 policy makers, scientific experts and practitioners in the field of regional development from all over Europe gathered in Leipzig, Germany the past 23rd of October for a workshop about the different approaches for providing public services in rural areas that face drastic demographic change.

Full programme, abstracts and presentations

The workshop was headlined “Integrated Strategies to Secure Public Services- How Can Regions in Europe Learn From Each Other?” and aimed at showing how integrated and inter-sectoral approaches can help in tackling the challenge of providing public services in sparsely populated regions. It was organised by the federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR); the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and the nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research. Hanno Osenberg from the BMVBS and Klaus Einig from the BBSR welcomed the participants. After that, Martin Schiefelbusch from the nexus Institute gave an overview and an introduction about the accompanying research project “International Perspectives” of the “Programme of Action for the Provision of Regional Public Services”.

A series of keynotes and a panel discussion followed this introduction: The first input from Daniel Rauhut, Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, pointed out the difficulties in the harmonization of the term “services of general interest” in Europe due to its immense variables and significances as well as the future challenges that this politically created concept will face. Nikolaos Raptakis from the Region of Crete (Grrece), exposed moreover the new action strategies that this region currently develops, considering the special demographic characteristic of the islands and the actual severe economic crisis. Further, Maria del Mar Martin from “Abraza la Tierra Foundation” (Spain) explained their experiences and success in settling an important number of new inhabitants in rural areas over the last ten years so that services of general interest could be maintained as well as a dynamic perspective for the territory developed. Sabine Jennert from the German pilot region “Spessart” showed how new inter-sectoral and participative concepts have made cooperation possible, positive and particularly useful for this region and how this lead it to approach the crisis scenario as an opportunity. To finish, Reyhaneh Farrokhikhiavi from the Pilot Region “Aachen” explained their experiences in transnational cooperation between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, how it has been carried out mainly by the private sector, their main strengths and threats.

A discussion moderated by Dr. Angela Jain from nexus Institute followed, where the audience interacted with the experts and discussed their questions. As closing remarks, Hanno Osenberg highlighted the importance of achieve a common understanding across borders and how good communication and clear definitions are a key element to a successful international cooperation.

© 2011 fw