Monday, June 15, 2009

The EREF (European Regional Economic Forum) 2009 Resolution

As a member of the steering committee of the European Regional Economic Forum I undersigned below resolution a few days ago in Nova Gorica, Slovenia where the Forum took place:
The EREF 2009 Resolution
On development of human capital and migration management for more competitive European regions.

Having evaluated the problems of human capital and migrations, and their pivotal role in achieving stronger, knowledge-based competitiveness, EREF-2009 and its preparatory workshops came to the following conclusions:

In line with their role in implementation of Lisbon Agenda, European regions and local communities should take a more proactive attitude on all aspects of human resource policies, including migration management, and share their good practice with other regions and countries. In fact, as most of the Lisbon targets in education will not be achieved at EU level by 2010 and we should invigorate our efforts to achieve better results, and be inspired by the performance of Nordic countries.

1. The Bologna Process is advancing much too slowly. Education and training systems are not sufficiently student-centered, and do not involve students in all stages of the process. There should be much more emphasis on encouraging Life Long Learning. Also, there is an urgent need to increase public, as well as private funding of education activities, but at the same time curricula should be adjusted, teaching methods modernized, and much stronger links should be established between universities, business and research institutes. This process should be in line with the primary function of modern education which is to encourage and develop young peoples' creativity and drive for innovation.

E-learning in all forms and formats should be supported by policy-making bodies at all levels, as well as in companies – particularly in SMEs -- and in other organisations, being an important instrument of formal and informal education.

2. In order to stop the long lasting brain drain and achieve a more balanced brain circulation European countries and regions should put in place policies allowing them to compete with countries and regions, benefitting from intensive brain gain, as for example US, Canada and Australia.

Due to its demographic deficit Europe will continue need also an influx of less qualified migrants in order to keep its economic potential fully engaged. Therefore immigration policies should be more effectively harmonized with development strategies and better coordinated among EU member states.

3. Thanks to the development of the efficient systems of communications with diaspora, based on mutual interest and respect, the countries and regions of emigration can at least partly reduce the damage, caused by losing their valuable, highly skilled people. For this purpose national and regional authorities should encourage and support various knowledge and business networks – respecting their full independence.

The EREF Process will continue strengthening its efforts to contribute to the preparation of the countries and regions of South Eastern Europe for EU membership. By fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria these countries enhance their own development, and will contribute to a more competitive Europe.

At the closure of EREF-2009 it was decided that EREF-2010 will address the topic of
"Competencies and values for sustainable and knowledge based competitiveness:
A New Agenda for European Regions"
and will take place in Nova Gorica on 7 and 8 June, 2010.

EREF Network members, partners, and organizers are invited to start early the necessary preparations and involve all relevant institutions at regional, national, EU, and international level for a successful 6th Forum, and productive preparatory and associated activities.
Nova Gorica, 9 June 2009