Dear readers,

If the Treaty of Rome is the heart of Cohesion Policy, and the ERDF and ESF are its arms, then the European Week of Regions and Cities is its spirit! #EURegionsWeek is a unique annual opportunity for the regions and cities of Europe to exchange experiences and ideas on how to improve the lives of their citizens and enhance their regional economies. It provides, not just a forum for debates on the present and the future that goes way beyond networking and presentations but, for 19 years now, it has become an unmissable annual event for cooperation on the latest in European regional policies, research and best-practices.

This is the culture we are also promoting here in ESPON and, in this time of post-pandemic recovery, it is even more important to harness our existing community of knowledge in designing public policies, as time and resources are short.

With this in mind, we decided to dedicate an entire issue of our ESPON magazine to the most iconic annual event for regional and local authorities in Europe. I am excited that the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions embraced this effort with the same enthusiasm. Their invaluable support and contributions were the cornerstone of this effort, and I am thankful that we were together on this journey.

I am also confident that this issue will be an excellent reading compliment to your participation at the #EURegionsWeek as we have the honour to include insightful and inspiring articles from the president of the Committee of the Regions, the EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms and the president of the REGI Committee of the European Parliament. Elisa Ferreira explains the three milestones to ensure an inclusive recovery? the new legal and policy framework, the COP26 Climate Change Conference and the Conference on the Future of Europe. Apostolos Tzitzikostas emphasises that local actors should be adequately involved in the design and implementation of National Recovery and Resilience Plans as they are responsible for delivering 70% of all EU laws. And Younous Omarjee writes that it is now up to the elected officials at the local and regional level to ensure the translation of European regulations into real, tangible projects on the ground.

Wikt or Szydarowski, ESPON EGTC Director

Isabelle Boudineau, Chair the CoR Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget, presents the ongoing successful cooperation of the Commission and the EU Parliament's REGI Committee ? which will manifest as a common plenary during the #EURegionsWeek, while Heike Raab, State Secretary of the Rhineland Palatinate, underlines the importance of cross-border cooperation in this time of crisis and emergency.

The deputy director general of DG Regio, Normunds Popens, and the director of DG AGRI, Wolfgang Burtscher provide an update on the long-term vision for rural areas and Wolfgang Petzold, deputy director for communications at the CoR, presents the views of local politicians on the future of Europe. Debora Revoltella, director of economics and senior economist Peter McGoldrick, from the EIB, discuss the twin challenges of digitalisation and climate change faced by European municipalities. Xavier Troussard, Head of the New European Bauhaus Unit, writes on how can cities and regions benefit from the new European Bauhaus. And Anguel K. Beremliysky, from the Common Secretariat of the Conference on the Future of Europe explains how cities and regions can contribute to the debate.

Finally, this issue also features a snapshot of some #EURegionsWeek sessions, as their organisers share interesting insights about quality of life, cultural heritage, healthy ageing, metropolitan areas, the green transition and much more besides!

But the #EURegionsWeek is all about participation and collaboration, and who can better describe the positive culture of active cooperation that has developed over the past 19 years than the representatives of regional offices in Brussels. On top of that, we were also curious to know why researchers and policy stakeholders keep on returning year after year to the #EURegionsWeek sessions - you can also find their thoughts and stories in this issue.

And, if you want, between sessions, a handy guide to the virtual exhibition of the #EURegionsWeek, read our article for more information. You can also drink your (virtual) coffee reading about the Megalizzi-Nietzelski prize for aspiring journalists.

I hope you enjoy your reading, and don't forget to register in the #EURegionsWeek 2021!

This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL

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This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL