Category Europe

EU OpenDays 2014 – 12th European week of Regions and Cities

Just got back from this annual event and thought I would briefly summarise my experiences and thoughts. Well the sessions are mainly about EU Structural funds or as they are generally known now as ESIF. The trouble was for this year we are right at the end of one period and right at the beginning […]

Cities and Regions at EU Open Days

This is just a short post to let you know about a fantastic event that happens every year in Brussels – EU Open Days – where cities and regions and a range of experts get to talk about how they are investing EU structural funds but also to consider deeper things like the review of […]

Greater Birmingham’s Office in Brussels

Not many people know it but there is a Greater Birmingham and West Midlands office in Brussels run by Birmingham City Council but with partner support from a number of the region’s Universities and other organisations. This office keeps partners informed about funding opportunities and provides the space for events (it has an excellent location) […]

Greater Birmingham: The Name is not the main Game

In the wake of Evan Davies’s series ‘Mind the Gap‘ on London and its pre-eminence in the UK there has been much debate in Birmingham about the city particularly when yet again a poll carried out for the TV programme found that Manchester was viewed by many in the UK as the second city. There […]

Mapping Smart Cities in the EU: A New Study

The European Parliament has just published a report mapping Smart Cities in the EU.  Now firstly one must welcome this attempt to try and assess the number of ‘smart cities’ and the scale of activity across Europe. As always with such reports it is a weighty tome and hard to get to grips with. It […]

Greater Paris – one of France’s new metropolitan areas

This is a really interesting blog post from Mark Kleinman picking up on the the creation of a Greater Paris metropolitan area.  The French Government is in the process of creating three such bodies for Paris, Lyon and Marseille and below that is allowing cities and surrounding communes, who wish to,  to consolidate decision making […]

Birmingham’s Carbon Road Map – launched – Well done Birmingham City Council

I haven’t got time to do a full review,  but as it is a very important document for the City and it has  come out today I have literally skim read it. (Download it here) It does look very promising. Whilst it is good to look at, ie  up to coffee table standard it is […]

What is Smart Specialisation when it is at home?

Many LEPs across the country are waking up to this new European term as with the responsibility being given them to spend EU structural funds from 2014-2020 comes a new approach to targetting resources to be spent on innovation. The term Smart Specialisation is an approach to developing Regional Innovation Strategies which whilst not compulsory […]

City Regions and LEPs – the need for much closer Local Authority Working

I have just printed off Albert Bore’s Annual Policy statement (APS) for Birmingham City Council. This summarises achievements of the Council and lays out ambitions for the future year. I must say it is really very interesting and for anyone interested in the overall direction of the Council it is a must read. It could […]

Why Cities Should Act Internationally

The recent release of Birmingham’s new European and International Strategy reminded me that for so long international work of cities has been under attack for wasting resources.  So much so that Cities are often reluctant to sing about their international work. In the world of openness we live almost all of the international activity is […]



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