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RELOCAL Policy Conference: Empowering the Local for Enhancing Cohesion and Spatial Justice in Europe

RELOCAL Policy Conference – 24th March 2020. Brussels

Registration here


Is it possible to hold a conference on cohesion and territorial development policy without inviting local stakeholders representing populations and territories targeted by such policy? As researchers involved in the Horizon 2020 RELOCAL project, we are convinced they should participate and be given a voice.

Our aim with this conference is to share and discuss the results of 3 years of research, in particular 33 in-depth case studies in Europe. To do so, we invite you, citizens, NGO activists, civil servants, elected representatives acting at local, national and European levels, to express and share your experiences, questions and challenges on making European policies for cohesion more equitable. Our main question for this day is: how can we produce a Europe that is both spatially and socially just?

To do so, we strive during the conference to create a horizontal space of dialogue between those who analyse, those who conceive and those who implement local development policies in different contexts, regardless of whether they depend directly on EU funds or not. This conference is conducted in a participative and digital setting. The participants are invited to react to the discussions during the day using their mobile phones. These comments will support the elaboration of recommendations for a fairer Cohesion Policy.

Download the program


8h30 / Registration

9h / Introduction and welcome.

Petri Kahila (University of Eastern Finland) Moderators: Cyril Blondel (University of Luxembourg) & Pascal Ferren (L’inverse de la fusée)

9h15-10h / The voices of EU-level and national policy-makers: the main challenges of EU Cohesion Policy today.

Peter Takacs (DG Regio) – Representative from a Member State (tbc) – Representative of the Committee of the Regions (tbc)

10h-10h15 / Coffee break

10h15-12h45 / The voices of the localities: Implementing local development, an insight into 5 RELOCAL case studies

1. “Strengthening communities” on the Isle of Lewis (UK) // Margaret Currie & Annabel Pinker (James Hutton Institute), Neil Mackinnon (Galston Estate Trust in Lewis)

2. “Local youth as urban development actors” in Görlitz (Germany) // Viktoria Kamuf (ILS Dortmund), Christian Thomas (Second Attempt) & Otto Kronschwitz (Second Attempt & Görlitz city council)

3. “Lieksa Development Strategy 2030” in Lieksa (Finland) // Matti Fritsch (University of Eastern Finland), Irma Nykänen (Lieksan Tukipiste & Lieska city concil)

4. “Give kids a chance” in Encs district (Hungary) // Judit Keller (Hungarian Academy of Science) and local representative (tbc)

5. Mara-Natur Leader in Maramures county (Romania) // George Zamfir (Fundația Desire, Cluj-Napoca) and local representative (tbc)

12h45-14h / Lunch break

14h-15h/ Discussing the presentations: the local speaks to Europe and vice versa.

15 min Wrap-up of the morning & RELOCAL results: Sabine Weck (ILS Dortmund) & Estelle Evrard (University of Luxembourg) 45 min Discussion: the facilitators will select some of the morning’s remarks and will invite their authors to explain/defend them publicly.

15h-16h/ Towards recommendations: how to make local development more just?

15 min Wrap-up of the discussions & RELOCAL recommendations: Sarolta Németh (University of Eastern Finland) and Enikő Vincze (Fundația Desire, Cluj-Napoca) 45 min Discussion: the facilitators will select some of the afternoon’s recommendations. The participants will be invited to present quickly their recommendation to the audience.

16h-16h30 / A polyphonic conclusion: what have we learnt?

James Scott (University of Eastern Finland), Representative from DG Regio (tbc), Representative from AEIDL (tbc), Gilles Huchette (Euralens)



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