EWRC 2019: Republic of Srpska active in Regional Cooperation
As every year, the Republic of Srpska actively participated in the 17th edition of the European Week of Region Cities 2019 organized by the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) during the period October 7/10 in Brussels.
Within the framework of the main event, the conference "Solidarity and Volunteering - European Rights and Values from the bottom up" was held on 8 October organized by European Volunteer Centre (CEV), where the Republic of Srpska took the role as a partner and contributor among many other regions from Italy, Slovakia Denmark, Spain and Ireland. The aim of the event was to recognize the local volunteering initiatives, strengthen the local framework, discuss current challenges and projects and inspire the culture of volunteering.
In 2018 the EU has launched the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) as a way to encourage, facilitate and promote solidarity in Europe. Acting in solidarity to secure and protect the rights and values of others is the basis of the European Union. Millions of citizens all across Europe volunteer, driven by a sense of solidarity and community and a wish to actively address the needs and injustices that they see around them. Citizens of all ages and backgrounds voluntarily come together to find common solutions to shared challenges, in much the same way that Member States do in the European Union. Marc Wilhem Kuster (Head of the sector Youth Communities and Support DG EAC) explained the political vision of ESC, and Domenec Ruiz Devesa (MEP) defended the volunteering as a mandatory part of education.
In order to contribute to strengthen, inspire and celebrate, VOLUNTEERING and SOLIDARITY in Europe, in 2013 the European Volunteer Centre (CEV) launched European Volunteering Capital (EVCapital) competition to recognise the local volunteering initiatives, strengthen the local framework and inspire the culture of volunteering. Based on the Policy Agenda for Volunteering in Europe (PAVE) and the 5R policy priorities in the Helping Hands 5 year PAVE review, EVCapital is a european reference awarding municipalities endorsed by key personalities around volunteering.
The five partners are past, future and present European Volunteering Capital candidates. Padova, Kosice, Aarhus, Cork and Republic of Srpska are actually strong referents in volunteering in Europe to follow up. They have reached a high level of quality in volunteering initiatives to be recognized by the community. These results were possible thanks to individual decisions taken by organisations, volunteers, public entities that have to be promoted through the activities of European Volunteering Capital.
On this occasion, Solidarity and Volunteering are going to be discussed together in a session Chaired by Mr Rastislav Trnka, President of Kosice Self-Governing Region.
In order to promote solidarity, engage citizens and help them to link with EU policies and programmes, we will share experiences and local and regional strategies. It will be possible through interactions with poster presentations to know how policymakers contribute to reflect EU values and solidarity in local policies.
We will also be a “World Cafe” discussing acts of solidarity that facilitate understanding of the EU policy framework and adapting volunteering policies successfully enabling citizens to act in solidarity respecting EU values.
The session will be followed by a networking cocktail at the Kosice Regional Office in Brussels from 18:00 - 20:30.
Take away message
Volunteering has become the strongest part of civil society since has been contributing to the communitiy building. As this is a reality, we have to support and promote volunteering as a way to build and improve equality, justice and european values.
European Volunteering Capital (#EVCapital) is not a title, nor an award. It's the representation of the commitment to volunteering, the hard work and the best practices.
The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.
The event was created in 2003 when the European Committee of the Regions invited Brussels-based local and regional representations to the European Union to open their doors to visitors simultaneously. One year later the European Commission's DG for Regional Policy also joined the adventure.
Developing from the initial concept, the event has become a European networking platform for experts in regional and local development. Exchange of good practice in economic development and social inclusion, cross-border cooperation, public-private partnerships, regional innovation and community-led local development have become some of its many topics.
Over the years, the event has grown into the key event on EU Regional Policy. It welcomes some 6.000 participants in October each year (local, regional, national and European decision-makers and experts) for more than 100 workshops and debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities.
In addition to the Brussels-based workshops, local events are run from September to November all over Europe.