Eurada News nº389 - June 2019

New challenges on Regional Development in Europe: an interesting Workshop in Naples

In the framework of the XVI Workshop “The New World. Economic changes, social transformations, development policies” promoted by c.MET05, EURADA organized a two session focused on the “New challenges on regional development in Europe” with the aim to promote our activities and the ones carried out by our members among the Italian Development Agencies. During the two sessions, the challenges for regional development and the role of development agencies in the near future were analyzed and discussed.

In the framework of the XVI Workshop “Il Mondo Nuovo. Cambiamenti economici, trasformazioni sociali, politiche per lo sviluppo” (The New World. Economic changes, social transformations, development policies) promoted by c.MET05, on the 13th June, EURADA organized a two sessions, one in English and one in Italian, focused on the “New challenges on regional development in Europe”.

The Italian Inter-University Centre for Applied Economic Studies on Industrial Policy, Local Development and Internationalisation (c.MET05) organized this congress in Naples dedicated to the discussion of papers and research projects on the topics that characterise the activities of the c.MET05 network of researchers: industrial policy, local development, the internationalization of businesses and territories, change structure of economies and societies. This is an annual meeting in which the c.MET05 wants to encourage the exchange of ideas, considerations and perspectives between stakeholders coming from different universities, different generations and from different regional territorial realities.

In this contest, we organize our session on the regional development with the aim to promote our activities and the ones carried out by our members among the Italian Development Agencies. During the two sessions, the challenges for regional development and the role of development agencies in the near future were analyzed and discussed. It was an excellent opportunity for Italian and European regional development agents to strengthen a dialogue at national and international level also with the academic world on the major issues of regional development.

Our speakers were: Snežana Radinović, Director of the Regional Agency for Development and European Integration of Belgrade (RAREI), the Development Agency of the Region of Belgrade and  member of the EURADA; Gérard Lombardi currently working for CNER, the French Federation of Economic Development agencies; Roberto Algarra, from the Development agency of the Region of Valencia (IVACE) and Lionel Persyn, from the Walloon Society for the management of participations (SOGEPA).

The session in English involved Ms Radinovic, Mr Algarra and Mr Persyn. The director of RAREI, said that Serbia’s RDAs are changing since her country is a candidate to join European Union. The Belgrade’s RDA is implementing some projects on energy efficiency. She stressed the fact that every RDA from all Europe has the same goal: ensure better regional development for every region. Ms Radinovic highlights how being a member of EURADA, through the experience exchange with the other RDAs, helped the Belgrade’s RDA to facilitate the implementation of some European projects such energy efficiency.

Roberto Algarra, affirmed that one of the priority of the RDAs should be help to shape the industrial cluster and in order to do so, it’s necessary to focus the efforts on innovation, Research and Development business and on Industry 4.0. Access to finance is also a crucial theme if you would like to improve the competitiveness of the European SMEs.  More accuracy is needed when we use manage a public found. Mr Algarra also talked about a project called finMed which main objective is to boost the financing of innovation in green growth sectors through improved delivery of policies and strategies and the introduction of innovative cluster services in the Mediterranean are. He also pointed out that it would be great if all the actors involved could concentrate their efforts on a more sustainable growth (blue and green), efficient building and renewable energy.

The third speaker was Lionel Persyn, economic advisor in charge of economic studies relating to regional economy for the Executive Committee of SOGEPA. His main activity is preparing reports to provide evidences relating to the state of the global economy in Wallonia or for specific sectors and the job market. He talked about the anticipation of firm restructuring at regional level – an international benchmarking. Restructuring means changing the composition, conditions, or structure of a debtor’s assets and liabilities or any other part of the debtor’s capital structure, including share capital, or a combination of those elements, including sales of assets or parts of the business, with the objective of enabling the enterprise to continue in whole or in part.

So, there is a significant difference with a SME dismissing workers because it faces problems while a large international group is dismissing because it has a long term and strategic plan (increasing its productivity, its flexibility or another target). Local authorities can do some actions in order to anticipate restructuring such:

       Hot action: closure compensation /severance pay, relocate dismissed workers and reate new jobs to mitigate jobs losses;

       Tiepid action: give support to firms with evident difficulties (private information, delays of payment of contributions) and warnings from the works council;

       cold actions: continuous learning, enabling innovation (clusters), work flexibility, ensure attractiveness of the territory (FDI) and have a good knowledge of the firms (structuring firms, start ups, links between companies, emerging business trends).

There must be a permanent social dialogue between the stakeholders (firms, local authorities, syndicates) to create a vision of the future accepted by all the actors involved.

The 3 speakers agreed on the fact that since decades the collaboration between European RDAs and Italian regions is good, but it could be improved by involving more Italian RDAs in the European network.

 

The second session, also focused on the future challenges for RDAs, was in Italian and Mr Gerard Lombardi, from CNER (the French Federation of Economic Development agencies), highlights all the changes that happened in France in the last years. A couple of years ago, a new law on regional development was established and it had a significant impact because it reduced the numbers of the French regions from 20 to 12 and according to this law, it is possible to have only one RDA per region. After the approval of this law, French RDAs are facing new challenges and they do not have all the required tool to be able to respond to the needs from the local authorities.

Several questions were asked by the public, composed mainly of Italian academics and researchers. The relationship between EURADA and the Italian regions has aroused great interest among researchers and some of them proposed themselves for a hypothetical-future collaboration regarding data analysis, in order to improve local development.