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Between 20 and 22 of March around 30 members of LYMEC and other ELF-affiliated organizations came to Warsaw to discuss and present their opinions about different levels of development across European regions and exchange views on how to tackle regional disparities by promoting growth based on innovation, private investment and trade.

 

The event started on Friday afternoon with the welcome and overview session presented by Sissel Kvist, Vice-President of LYMEC. Afterwards, participants were given an opportunity to introduce and present their policy papers on the subject. Following each presentation an intensive and fruitful discussion took place which prompted all participants to actively engage and exchange their opinions and ideas on regional disparities. Projekt Polska kindly provided the venue for the day.

The first day of the event was followed by an informal dinner, were participants, while enjoying fresh Polish dishes, got the chance to mingle and get to know each other in a more relaxed environment. The evening dinner also featured a key-note speech by Andreja Potočnik, Member of the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Tržič, Member of the Slovenian Parliament and Member of the EU Committee of the Regions, about the participation of young people in the several levels of political institutions. LYMEC thanks the cooperation of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions in bringing Ms Potočnik, who has the very rare experience oif the three levels of governance: local, national and and European.

The next part of the event kicked off on Saturday morning with Andreja Potočnik taking the lead andJelena Jesajana, LYMEC bureau member, moderating the session. Andreja Potočnik shared her experience serving as Member of the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Tržič. Furthermore, she also discussed the role local and regional government in the economic development of Europe.

Following a short coffee break, participants continued the event. The session restarted with a short introduction of the coming speaker, representative of US embassy in Poland, Angela Palazzolo, Second Secretary-Consul. She offered a general insight of TTIP, the (still under negotiation) trade and investment agreement between the United States and the European Union. After several explanatory videos on the contents of TTIP, Ms Palazzolo delivered a comprehensive speech about the benefits and drawbacks of the Atlantic deal. She emphasized the importance TTIP will have for the world future economy. Following, other areas of interest for a successful conclusion of the trade and investment deal such as transparency and agriculture were covered.

The other speaker on the panel took the floor in order to share her experience as a policy officer of the international pharmaceutical company, Novartis. Marie Blanchard, Public Affairs Manager at NOVARTIS delivered a very interesting presentation focusing on economic growth of Europe through expanding sectors of research, innovation, technology and trade. Afterwards the speakers shared their professional views of the related topics. A constructive debate among participants and speakers took the rest of the session.

After the lunch break, the team gathered for the next session on Innovation and Entrepreneurship where a screening interview with Kumardev Chatterjee, founder and President of the European Young Innovators Forum took place. The interview, available online, focused on  several topics, among which the lack of entrepreneurship in Europe and how to overcome it, or the imbalances in our labour market, where high youth unemployment levels go hand in hand with millions of unfulfilled job positions, due to the lack of skilled workers. Participants, stimulated by Svenja Hahn, LYMEC board member, discussed the needed changes in our educational system to overcome these imbalances.

The last part of the event continued after the afternoon break. Zeneda Feratllari, LYMEC intern, addressed some concrete information concerning EU Regional Development policy implementation and upgrades since its inception, considering the challenges of 21st century. Zeneda, introduced several solutions leading to a European economy recovery, including trade as a key element of EU 2020 agenda.

The event closed with the participation of Adrian Martinez and Stephen Roy Cruz from the Philippine Liberal Party. They offered a general overview of world economy, focusing in both the economic rise of Asia, and the geopolitical issues affecting the region.

Other remarks from LYMEC Secretary General, Igor Caldeira followed the conclusive session presenting technical issues of the event. Afterwards, an informal discussion among participants took place in order to determine several final resolution on the topics of the event. Participants expressed their opinions about future steps leading to EU efficiency in diverse areas.

The seminar ended with the closing remarks by Sissel Kvist, thanking everyone for the valuable contribution with ideas and wishing them a safe travel back home.

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