18th European Week of Regions and Cities

The European Week of Regions and Cities is the biggest annual event dedicated to regional policy, this year entirely digital.

There are over 500 sessions, among which many organised by Interreg programmes, NPA projects and by the Arctic Cooperation.

On this page we have made a selection of events for you. Next to each event title there is a link to watch the livestream or to watch the recording. Please note that the recordings will be available within 48 hours from the date of the event. All 500 sessions recorded and available here.


Monday 12th October 2020


11:00 - 12:00 CET - COR Plenary session and Debate on the EU Annual Regional and Local Barometer

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Debate with CoR President, Apostolos Tzitzikostas and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen on the first EU Annual Regional and Local Barometer presented by the CoR at the occasion of the 140th CoR plenary session.

This first EU Annual Regional and Local Barometer focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. EU regional and local authorities have been on the frontline in tackling the health crisis and keeping people safe. The report shows how they are also key to the economic recovery. The publication highlights the impact on the most vulnerable in European local communities and presents new public opinion data on these issues, polled less than a month before publication.


14:30 - 16:30 CET - Opening session of the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities. Cohesion debate

Watch video from 5:37

The Opening session was an interactive debate between speakers, CoR members, partners and participants expected to take part remotely, around three round tables dedicated to: Cohesion and cooperation; Empowering citizens; Green Europe.

At the Opening session of the European Week of Regions and Cities, Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, pointed out that we must use future cohesion policy investments wisely and that we must show how we build a green, digital economy in a European way, which leaves no regions behind.


Tuesday 13th October


14:30 - 15:00 - Circular economy for a green Europe – Regiostars finalists talk
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Transferability of circular economy solutions to other cities and regions were the key topic of the discussion: how the experiences of the Regiostars winners can be replicated in other contexts, what are the challenges faced and the opportunities developed through the implementation of their projects.

The NPA project Blue Circular Economy was among the Regiostars finalists. The project Lead Partner Siv Marina Flø Grimstad from the Norwegian the University of Science and Technology presented the work of the partnership.


16:30 - 18:00 - New Approaches for Shrinking Rural Areas

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The session included the key findings of ESPON ESCAPE project (European Shrinking Rural Areas Challenges, Actions and Perspectives for Territorial Governance), - diagnosis of forms of shrinking, intervention logic, governance and policy recommendations. Presentation of the regional typologies developed by the project. Video contributions from four rural areas (selected from the eight case studies carried out by the project), highlighting key issues and challenges for economic development and wellbeing associated with shrinking. Plenary discussion of policy challenges and suggested solutions.


Wednesday 14th October


11:00 - 12:00 - Programme Cooperation in the Arctic

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How to cooperate across programmes: experience from the Interreg-ENI CBC Arctic collaboration. A Q&A session focused on how to achieve cross-programme collaboration between the Interreg and ENI-CBC programmes, and how to benefit from synergies.

It is not self-evident that programmes can work together without a formal strategy. We would like to explain how to achieve this kind of "soft cooperation" and how it can be integrated into the programming process.


14:30 - 16:00 - Disruptive Digital Technology & Cohesion Policy

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Provision of public services is a major challenge in rural areas due to lack of critical mass, human resources and remote dispersed communities. Disruptive digital technologies can help overcome the challenge by reducing costs, spanning distances and improving decision making while contributing to the achievement of Europe’s twin green / digital goals.

Based on examples and pilots developed in the transnational Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) programme, this workshop looked into the role that technologies such as Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence can play in future public service delivery. The successful integration of emerging disruptive digital technologies (VR, AI & IoT) into existing public services can help achieve key ERDF / Cohesion Policy goals for the 2021-2027 period.


19:00 - 20:30 - Watch the Regiostars Ceremony.

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REGIOSTARS is the annual Cohesion Policy award, honouring EU-funded projects demonstrating excellence and new approaches in regional development. This is the ceremony during which the winners of the 2020 competition will be announced.


Thursday 15th October


11:00 - 12:00 - EU literary tourism: untapped potential

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The session will begin with a description of the EU Interreg NPA funded Spot-Lit Project and how it is breaking new ground in this new and emerging cultural sector. This will be followed by short presentations from the project regions highlighting the untapped potential of literary tourism in the EU and the various ways in which literary tourism businesses have been supported through the project to cooperate and collaborate, in spite of the various challenges of Brexit and the global pandemic.

Literary Tourism businesses participating in the Spot-Lit Project operate in the context of four thematic areas of exploration: How LT can engage with children and young people in Scotland, building an LT destination for untapped assets in N. Ireland, making use of digital technology in Finland and harnessing the power of performance art in the West of Ireland.

Q & As will proceed with three Literary Tourism experts from the project regions who will answer questions based on how cohesion and cooperation has manifested itself through the project - between partners, regions and the LT businesses.

The session will conclude with a summing up from the Lead Partner organisation of the Spot-Lit Project who will guide and facilitate any further questions and discussions.


14:15 - 15:15 - Closing ceremony of the Cohesion and Cooperation week

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The closing Ceremony will be a harvesting of the Week 1 “Empowering Citizens” and Week 2 “Cohesion and Cooperation” and a teaser of the Green Europe Week 3. Commissioner Ferreira will be sharing with the President of the Committee of the Regions Tzitzikostas their impressions on the take-aways of the Weeks.


Monday 19th October


9:30 - 11:00 - Circular economy in Arctic industries

Live webstream: https://youtu.be/ssgyYuEj8Y4

As the EU is stepping up its ambitions towards becoming climate neutral, it is important to learn from the cases that are the forerunners of the green transition.

This session will be showcasing initiatives in or close to the Arctic already on the move towards a climate-neutral economy. We will also explore initiatives taken by regional actors across the territory, including regional development agencies, to help Arctic and rural businesses adjust to a circular economy.

To achieve the ambition of a Green Europe, learning from those already succeeding within green, circular industries is crucial. There are many regions in and near the Arctic that have already been focusing on the circular economy for several years. Four different projects and approaches to circular economy and industry will be presented.

The examples will address how future EU policy could contribute to using the potential of the circular economy in industries. The session will close with a panel debate with political representation on what can be learned from those already succeeding.


Tuesday 20th October


16:30 - 18:00 - Renewable energy reaching everywhere

Video link available later

Does arctic conditions such as darkness, snow and cold not sound as ideal conditions for renewable energy?

There are more opportunities than you might expect. This workshop presents new research results about solar power and renewable energy in Arctic conditions. Achieving climate-neutrality requires maximising the deployment of renewable energy throughout Europe. Investors, private sector incl. SMEs, public sector and consumers need to be part in the uptake of renewable energy.

The speakers shares how they get actors to shift to renewable energy in interventions funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Interreg: Northern Periphery and Arctic region (SMARTrenew). This case demonstrates that shifting to renewable energy is possible everywhere and discusses how to achieve the sustainable green transition that the European Green Deal foresees.