This year’s General Assembly (GA), held on 19 November 2014 at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Brussels, marked the beginning of a new decade, both for our network with the start of a new presidency, but also at EU-political level with a new political landscape and new program period 2014-2020. Nichi Vendola’s[i] NEREUS-presidency and proposed work program were confirmed. Alain Bénéteau, by all recognized as the father of the network, was elected third NEREUS Vice-President.
Apart from this, the 2014 GA was an important occasion for regions and associate members to discuss the proposed NEREUS-work program by President Vendola, whose overall objective is to promote the use of space applications so that they can be increasingly exploited for citizens’ everyday life.
One of the pillars of the proposed work programme is the EIP-Space initiative and EIP task force activities. Vice-President C. Bruns presented the initiative which led to an interesting discussion and exchange among the members. In this regard, the EIP-Space initiative was recognized by all the members as an important common framework where European regions and other space players can collaborate to stimulate the development of new space applications linking the space domain with non-space sectors.
The morning session continued with the presentation by Secretary General R. Ayazi, of the 2013/2014 activities and planned actions. In 2014, in the framework of the collaboration with European Space Agency, NEREUS and ESA launched the new initiative “Improving Copernicus take-up among Local and Regional Authorities via dedicated thematic workshops” aimed at fostering the dialogue between end-users and the supply side on Copernicus services. In order to identify the workshop topics that are of priority for Local and Regional Authorities LRAs an online consultation in 5 languages of the network has been launched (deadline 15 December): http://www.nereus-regions.eu/Online_consultation_ESA_NEREUS_COP_2014.
In the last morning session the floor was given to the (co-)chair of the WGs to present their past and ongoing activities as well as their suggestions and inputs to the work programme.
The afternoon was dedicated to the dialogue with the EU-space community. President Vendola highlighted the importance for regions to exchange with EU-Institutions to bring, on the one hand, space applications to the territories at the service of the citizens and, on the other hand, to bring the regional dimension into the EU-space policies and programmes. ESA-Director Morsillo while emphasising the importance of space services and applications for the regions and citizens, also in terms of new job opportunities, he called for the creation of more market opportunities at regional level. Finally, EC-Head Copernicus Services Unit, Mauro Facchini stressed the importance of regional cooperation and exchange both to spread the use and understanding of space applications at local level and to stimulate new businesses opportunities for the development of downstream services.
The Assembly ended with the presentation of regional best practices from NEREUS member regions.
- Speakers’ PPT
- Interview of NEREUS President Nichi Vendola and to Valerio Tramutoli (co-chair of the NEREUS EO/Copernicus WG) (in Italian)
[i] President of Apulia region (Italy)