The purpose of this document is to communicate the opinion of European Development Agencies in the context of the public consultation on Smart Specialisation, with the aim of contributing to the discussion of the EU Cohesion Policy. This paper, along with other documents, were sent to the European Commission and experts groups.
EURADA’s Position Paper on Smart Specialisation Strategy contains a compilation of views and suggestions of our members to the principle of Smart Specialisation, and its applications and impact across the region. Within the points included in the Position Paper, it can be found the member’s feedback about the performance of Regional Development Agencies in the RIS3 and the role of Smart Specialisation in regional development.
EURADA’s overall assessment of the Smart Specialisation Strategies is extremely positive. There is a consensus among the professionals of development agencies and regional practitioners about the suitability of the S3 tool to engage a multiplicity of stakeholders in a common transformation agenda. Despite the major weakness of the ex-ante conditionality principle inflicted by the implementation in the operational programmes.
Among some recommendations, it is possible to find:
- Smart Specialisation should be placed on the highest level of the political agenda of the EU Institutions.
- The complex governance of Smart Specialisation requires continuous policy support.
- Smart Specialisation is a good opportunity for interregional cooperation. Initiatives like the thematic platforms in agro-food, energy and industrial modernisation should be reinforced.
- Smart Specialisation should be deployed in all territorial levels.
The European RDAs believe that regional practitioners still need support in the complex governance process that requires the implementation of RIS3. Only with a persistent consideration at the highest level by the European Commission will we ensure that all stakeholders involved keep being active players in this scheme.