The European Congress of Local and Regional Governments will be a platform for the exchange of views and a meeting place for local government leaders and regional elites with representatives of the national administration, NGOs and business. In 2015, the first edition of this event will take place, with over 800 guests from nearly all European countries. Bronisław Komorowski, the President of the Republic of Poland, will be a guest of the Congress, held between 4-5 May at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre.

The regional dimension of European integration has recently taken on even more significance. Europe thrives thanks to its regions, and for many European citizens, it gains a particular dimension through the existence of these regions. The new financial perspective of the European Union poses a particular challenge to the local governments, resulting from the transfer of funds from national projects and programmes to regional ones. In order to effectively obtain EU funds in 2014-2020, cooperation with external partners will be necessary, as well as joint definition of priorities, and a division of tasks and responsibilities. The European Congress of Local and Regional Governments will therefore be the perfect place to identify and discuss the new rules for the use of EU funds. The Congress will be a chance to talk about increasing the effectiveness of their use thanks to increasingly good contacts and inter-regional cooperation, both with the closest neighbours as well as partners from all over Europe.

A strong local government is one with involved residents, an open and transparent administration, thriving scientific and academic centres, and business, both local and international,” says Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Krakow, which is the Host City of the Congress. “The European Congress of Local and Regional Governments will be an excellent chance to discuss the level of cooperation between these sectors. I hope that we will find new and interesting solutions implemented in other countries, but also that we, as the capital of the Malopolska region, will be an example to others,” Majchrowski emphasises.

The Congress is partnered with the European Committee of Regions, whose President, Markku Markkula, will visit Krakow. The mission and ambition of the European Committee of Regions is making sure that the voice of the local and regional authorities is heard and taken into account in the process of shaping European politics. “We are committed to ensuring that the expectations of local communities are met and that the work undertaken on the European level is appropriate to their actual needs,” says Markku Markkula. “This is why we actively support the European Congress of Local and Regional Governments, and see in it a chance to gain new experiences and listen to opinions on the future of the EU.”

The conference will take place at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre on 4 and 5 May 2015. In the program are approximately 60 events divided into four themes: economy, finance, environment, and society, including thematic blocks, reports, panel discussions, workshops, lectures, presentations, as well as a gala celebration.
The organiser of the European Congress of Local and Regional Governments is the Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies, organiser of the Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdrój.

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