CENTURIO – Exchanging experiences, fostering interregional co-operation and strenghtening Regions’ self-development.
Start date: Aug 31, 2004,
End date: Apr 29, 2007
The CENTURIO programme, created by the Assembly of European Regions (AER) in 1994, has been successfully promoting dialogue and exchange of experience between European regions for several years. However, the enlargement of the EU in May 2004 served to illustrate that the European and global context for the regions is changing. Their growth and competitiveness depend on their capacity to develop in a sustainable way. Europe’s regions are facing major challenges and it is in response to this that CENTURIO is enlarging its networks of cooperation and intensifying its activities. CENTURIO is helping Europe’s regions to achieve sustainable development in a rapidly changing European and global context. Its key objectives are to promote the improvement of regions’ policies and instruments for regional development and cohesion; to contribute to assessing the effectiveness and impact of the EU’s regional policy; to support the implementation of the EU’s regional policy in an enlarged EU; and to support regions from new and future member states as they adapt to the demands of EU membership. Achievements: Achievements so far The Centurio Partner Regions reached a high level of exchange of experience as well as mutual knowledge and best practices, as some Partnerships met already the 5th time. Deepening the relations within several Partners made sure that long-term Partnerships were established, in which the members will keep on working together even after the end of the Programme. In order to have the political support, Cooperation Agreements were signed. Many Partners used the meetings to further shape and concretise their ideas for future cooperation projects. The shared interests, challenges and problems led in many PS to the implemenation of new development approaches and common development strategies. Throughout the 6 semesters 80 Partnership meetings took place, incl. study, site and departmental visits, meetings, workshops and seminars. In every semester a Dissemination Conference was organised with an average number of 80 participants – both from and beyond Centurio Regions. The events throughout the 6 semesters resulted in 84 best practices, of which 31 were already transferred. 136 new projects (ideas) and 32 Joint Working Groups were established. The events, best practices and projects not only dealt with the 3 key topics addressed by Centurio and with the management of Structural Funds, but with many other areas relevant to the Programme. A few topics to be mentioned: pro-active trans-border cooperation improving the air infrastructure, flood risk management, management of nature parks. The successful organisation of exchange activities, new project ideas and Joint Working Groups demonstrated the continuous development of the Partnerships. Especially in the last semester, several brigde activities took place resulting in new cooperation relations set up and new project ideas initiated. The exchange visits contributed to the strengthening of co-operation between relevant departments and bodies. Strong emphasis was placed also upon the visibility of the Programme with in total 80 press releases, 94 press articles, 22 newsletters, 20 brochures, 87 website pages, and 63 radio or TV interviews. The 5th DC « With a gaze to the future » was organised with the Region of Alsace on 7 – 9 Dec. 2006 in Strasbourg (F). The Dissemination Conference focused both on looking back on the experiences and results that were reached within the past three years and also gazed out towards the future for new co-operation possibilities. The Programme was partly dedicated only to Centurio members (the first half day was a Centurio session only), providing the possibility to evaluate the project and focusing on strong and weak points concerning the content and methods applied. The remaining time of the conference was open to all Regions interested in future interregional co-operation. The working method varied between plenary sessions and group work. A general facilitator ensured the flow of the Programme and the links between the individual contributions.
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