Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window


Press Releases


State Secretary Marko Starman, LLM, attends second conference of Regions for Economic Change in Brussels

Marko Starman, State Secretary in the Office for Local Self-Government and Regional Policy, spoke today to participants of the second annual conference at the initiative of Regions for Economic Change, where participants from all regions of Europe discussed the contribution of European regional policy and its instruments to exchange experience among regions. The President of the European Commission, Mr José Manuel Barroso, and the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Ms Danuta Hübner, also attended the conference.

In his address, State Secretary Starman underlined the significance and role of the Renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs in raising awareness of the central role that research and innovation play in Europe’s economy, especially in strengthening its greater global competitiveness. Public authorities, including at the regional level, play a key role in creating a favourable climate for innovation. In so doing, he said, they “enable entrepreneurs and researchers to convert their knowledge into innovation, thus strengthening the potential for generating economic growth in the future”. He underlined that Member States recognise that growth and jobs can only be delivered through the successful involvement of regional actors. He mentioned the vision of cooperation between governments, national parliaments, academia and industry, and described it as one of the primary opportunities for all stakeholders.

State Secretary Starman stressed that in development strategies, most of the policy priorities continue to resemble those of the Lisbon Strategy. The operational programmes adopted in most Member States prove that more attention is being paid to the social, economic and environmental pillars of the Renewed Lisbon Strategy, with issues concerning the environment and climate change being taken seriously today. He also drew attention to demographic issues. Shaping infrastructure and services will become more important in the future as a response to the ageing of the population. “Better legislation and improved transposition and application of Community legislation and policies at the local and regional level require improved coordination between the national level and local and regional authorities,” Starman said.

He further underlined that, as perceived by the Committee of the Regions Lisbon Monitoring Platform respondents, the cohesion policy, through the Structural Funds, represents the most important support to achieving the objectives. Structural Funds provide the necessary funding channels and coordination mechanisms for territorial Lisbon-related policies. With regard to the “earmarking” of Structural Funds for 2007–2013, results emerging from the Lisbon Monitoring Platform members show that this new provision seems to have induced changes in the regions and cities’ spending plans in 56% of cases. Therefore, the implementation of the Renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs will not be successful without a substantial contribution from the EU funds. He reminded the participants that Member States were asked to devote a large share of their financial resources to Lisbon-related expenses to maximise the effect in securing long-term investments for growth and jobs.

In his address to the participants of the conference, State Secretary Starman also spoke about the territorial dimension of the European cohesion policy. Among other things, he talked about bringing e-government to regions and businesses, which is seeing rapid results, though governments, especially at the local level, are not always up to the same speed. Citizens and businesses in Europe’s less-developed or rural areas often face difficulties in accessing services and marketing and selling products and innovative ideas. He said, “In this respect, Slovenia is a suitable territory to consider itself a living lab for innovative information and communication technology exploitation in order to contribute to the increased competitiveness of organisations and a better life for its citizens.” For this reason, a group of business, government and academic representatives proposed an “Innovation for Quality of Life – Slovenia Living Lab” country-wide initiative on 18 July 2007. The Slovenia Living Lab concept and action is expected to contribute to the country’s position in the emerging Central European e-region.

Finally, he spoke about regional innovation and the role of regional authorities. In his view, recognition of the regional innovative capacity as a whole is extremely important for innovation and entrepreneurship. All forms of innovation and stages of the innovation process should be included, not only the specific sectors or the business innovation stage – thus, being able to recognise and develop regional innovative capacity. He underlined teamwork as one of the most important factors. “Teams should be aware of external and internal factors, ready to re-invent the region when conditions change,” Starman said. “That is why we need to access the best players and managers, who could help the region reinvent itself if it has to.”

State Secretary Starman ended his address with his hope and wish for the participants to return to their regions ready to make maximum use of the considerable potential of cohesion policy in innovation support. He said, “The economic success of the regions, and therefore the economic benefits for the whole EU, responds directly to the concerns of our citizens and therefore contributes to the political success of the EU project.”


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 25.02.2008