The second edition of the Moldova Regional Economic Forum FERM 2024 will have a targeted focus on the Euroregions in the Southeastern area of the Union and will encompass two main components: investments and foreign trade
The location and date of the event will be determined in collaboration with regional partners from the Moldova region. We appreciate the willingness of the administration of Suceava County to host the next edition of the Forum.
The organizational concept of FERM 2024 is configured based on the strategic development directions established by the North East Regional Development Agency (ADR NE) for the Moldova Euroregion. The project’s initiator is the Center for Regional Development Analysis and Planning (C.A.P.D.R.), and its promoter is the economic magazine Moldova Invest.
The implementation is centered around two fundamental principles for the Northeast Region of Romania, namely INTERNATIONALIZATION. This principle encompasses a range of concrete efforts realized in the projects of the North East Regional Development Agency. The direction of internationalizing the Euroregion is supported through partnerships and concrete actions by the County Councils and Municipalities in Moldova.
The second principle focuses on the development of the Moldova Euroregion based on the principle of cooperation in line with the European Union’s Regional Policy.
To illustrate how FERM 2024 will create added value for the Moldova Euroregion, we have selected two practical situations that we will present and subsequently materialize at next year’s Forum. Of course, these are not the only examples or methods of action.
The principle of INTERNATIONALIZATION of the Moldova Euroregion – FERM
In preparing a concrete illustration of this principle and its utilization for the benefit of the ultimate beneficiaries, which can be both the business environment and citizens through public institutions, we have selected an external partnership between Suceava County Council and the Schwaben Region in Germany.
The collaboration between these two administrative units serves as a successful model, given its evolution over the years, multiple areas of cooperation, and the positive impact on the involved entities.
The main achievements and actions within this collaboration include cultural and educational exchange (teachers from the Schwaben Region taught the German language and culture at various institutions in Suceava). Universities in Augsburg and “Ștefan cel Mare” University in Suceava had a mutually beneficial collaboration, including equipment exchanges and donations of books and apparatus. Projects under the Leonardo da Vinci Program, exhibitions, and cultural events. Additionally, the Schwaben Region contributed to the tourist promotion of Suceava County at international fairs, such as the International Spring Fair AFA in Augsburg.
These actions have strengthened the ties between Suceava County and the Schwaben Region, promoting cultural and economic exchanges and bringing significant benefits to both parties. We discussed the results of this collaboration with Mrs. Katharina Haberkorn, who represents the Europe Office within the Schwaben Regional Council. We will provide a complete retrospective view and the German partners’ conclusions regarding this collaboration dating back to the early 1990s.
“As a representative of regional cooperation between the Schwaben/Bavaria region and Suceava/Bucovina, I am pleased to share some aspects of our partnership. It has grown over the years, and the partners have come to know each other and recognize that our regional partnership represents a model of European and regional cooperation.
In the context of European integration, starting from the 1990s, we are proud to say that we have worked with our partners, we have walked the path towards integration into the European Union together, and we will continue to collaborate.
As a regional administration, we have responsibilities in the social, medical, and cultural fields. Our values are fundamental to all our activities.
Strengthening social and medical assistance at the local/regional level, as well as social security, will also lead to the development of other areas. Without social security, economic growth and development will not exist. For this reason, we believe that by supporting social and medical services, we will improve conditions and achieve growth.
Since the 1990s, we have been working with our partners in Suceava in the areas of child protection, general and psychiatric hospitals, and social services for people with disabilities.
Over the last 25 years, we have seen respected institutions become stronger and more professional. We have witnessed the changes that have taken place at the Suceava hospital, and we are delighted to see that it has transformed into a strong and respected hospital with university clinical departments and a university clinical division.
This also means economic growth. People find well-paying jobs and stay in the region, some experts come to the region, and injured or ill individuals don’t have to travel long distances and can plan their lives in Suceava without risks. If social and healthcare services function well, the region can flourish in turn. Recent data on infrastructure improvement and investments support this.
We are not talking about a one-way street. The projects we undertake under the umbrella of our partnership have effects for both sides. Employees and experts from our region discover Romania and other parts of Europe, often for the first time in their professional lives. They discover similarities and differences and return to their workplaces with new ideas, questions, and impressions, but with the certainty that every activity in their field is important and should be approached at a European level.
In the field of cultural and youth exchanges, these impacts are even more visible, and regional cooperation can open many doors for individuals. If young people or younger employees meet during an exchange of experience, they will create their own connections and develop their own ideas to follow.
A recent example is the summer school that took place at “Ştefan cel Mare” University in Suceava, where a group of architecture students from Augsburg participated. Over 20 students from Germany and Romania came together for the second time in a summer school in Suceava to discuss and gain experience in the construction of traditional wooden houses in the Suceava region. The group’s leader received a scholarship to study in Augsburg, the capital of the Schwaben region, 10 years ago. In this case, past impressions and efforts have created something new for the benefit of Suceava University and the region’s heritage objectives. These, along with other research efforts, will strengthen the tourism sector, as experts and knowledge will remain in the region, contributing to further development.
Last but not least, I want to mention the Suceava – Memmingen airline route. Starting in 2019, we have been using this route regularly, and the frequency and intensity of exchanges between our regions have increased. Personal and professional mobility has significantly improved. Of course, all means of transportation, especially frequent air flights, support our efforts to assist Ukraine in times of war. We have positive experiences regarding the level of infrastructure in the Suceava region, both in terms of personal meetings and the transportation of humanitarian goods. Several logistics companies in the area work with us for this purpose. The quantity and quality of services have improved considerably.
We continue to work with people, for people, and to strengthen European ideas”.
Today, in the context of frequent interactions between citizens, companies, and authorities in Romania with those in Central and Western Europe, these results may seem natural, normal, and perhaps even obligatory. However, if we remember the realities of the ’90s and 2000s, we realize that without the support resulting from these partnerships, the current realities might not have looked the same.
We were also interested in hearing the perspective of the county authorities in Suceava, which is why we had a thematic discussion with Mr. Gheorghe FLUTUR, the President of Suceava County Council.
“On May 2, 2023, it has been 26 years since the signing, in the Golden Hall of the Augsburg City Hall, by the legal representatives of the Schwaben region and Suceava County, as well as the authorized representative of the Cernăuți region, of the document entitled the Joint Declaration, which formalized cooperation between the three administrative territorial units in various fields of activity. The document states, among other things, that we wish to unite our efforts in achieving this goal, which should serve as an example in the process of European development.
Twenty-six years from this date, we can say, without exaggeration, that the Suceava-Schwaben-Cernăuți partnership can be considered a successful example, given how it has developed over all these years, the areas of cooperation, and the fact that the actions taken have brought multiple benefits to all parties, whether it was about placement centers, psychiatric hospitals, universities, high schools, and primary schools, municipalities, businesses, or cultural institutions.
We must not forget that this partnership was signed in 1997, just 8 years after the fall of communism in Romania, in a rather challenging period for us Romanians, with many transformations and reforms, when joining the European Union was a rather difficult goal for Romania. From this perspective, the proximity to Germany through this partnership represented an optimistic outlook for Suceava County, with the opportunity to learn many examples of best practices from partners.
The achievements within this partnership have been numerous, with the most significant being:
- “Reunion in Bucovina” in June 2001, an event attended by over 400 ethnic Germans from Bucovina who left after 1940 to Germany and other parts of the world.
- Financial support for medicines for 120 diabetic patients, up to 22 years old, under the care of Suceava County Hospital for five years.
- Provision of humanitarian aid for placement centers and psychiatric hospitals in the county.
- Facilitating collaboration between universities in the two regions, high schools, and primary schools.
- Exchange of experience among specialists in culture, public administration, social assistance and protection, psychiatry, sports, and many other fields.
As a result of the efforts initiated by Suceava County Council and the Schwaben Regional Council, the Memmingen-Suceava airline route was inaugurated on June 17, 2019.
It should not be overlooked that, through the involvement of our partners, we have managed to perform free medical interventions for several of our fellow countrymen from the county in specialized clinics in Germany who had no chance of recovery during Romania’s pre-accession period to the EU.
These are just a few of the most significant actions that have been carried out between Suceava County and the Schwaben region because it is impossible for me to list all the actions we have implemented over the 26 years of cooperation”.
Obviously, similar examples exist in many of the counties in the North-East region. We have selected this example for you, which is conclusive for the context of FERM 2024.
The principle of COOPERATION in the EUROREGIONAL context – FERM
To exemplify the efforts made by regional partners to develop the Moldova Euroregion based on the principle of cooperation in the spirit of the European Union’s Regional Policy, we have chosen the event “European Week of Regions,” in which the North East Regional Development Agency (ADR NE), the Center for Regional Development Analysis and Planning (C.A.P.D.R.), and Moldova Invest participated alongside a delegation from Suceava County Council, Iași County Council, Botoșani County Council, Bacău City Hall, Iași City Hall, Pașcani City Hall, Piatra-Neamț City Hall, and Târgu-Ocna City Hall.
The future of Europe discussed in Brussels through the European Union’s Regional Policy during the European Week of Regions. The objectives of the Moldova Euroregion outlined for the first time in Brussels
The week of October 9th to 12th was dedicated to the largest annual event focused on the European Union’s Cohesion Policy, discussed within the framework of the European Week of Regions.
This annual event aimed, as in previous years, to highlight the European Union’s regional policy. Regions and cities showcased their ability to generate economic growth and employment, implement the European Union’s cohesion policy, and demonstrate the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.
Since its first edition in 2003, this event has become a unique platform for communication and collaboration, bringing together regions and cities from across Europe, including their political representatives, officials, experts, and academics. In this context, EURegionsWeek has greatly contributed to promoting how regions and cities use EU funds to improve the daily lives of their citizens.
Bogdan CHELARIU, Head of the Brussels Representation Office of ADR North East:
“To achieve its goals and fulfill as many development needs as possible in all EU regions, 392 billion euros, approximately one-third of the entire EU budget, have been allocated to cohesion policy for the period 2021-2027.
Specifically, in our region, Regio North East 2021-2027 is effectively built from the funds of the cohesion policy. The general objective of the program is to stimulate balanced development based on smart, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth, leading to an improved quality of life and reducing intra and interregional development disparities.
Participation in the EWRC has been an important step for ADR North East and its strategic partners in the region (County Councils, Municipalities, Cities) in implementing the micro-strategy for the internationalization of the counties in the North East region through:
- Co-organizing events to disseminate implemented projects.
- Participating in sessions organized by the European Commission regarding the future of cohesion and regional programs.
- Organizing bilateral meetings with other regions and cities with which cooperation initiatives and project applications can be initiated.
These actions, subsumed in what we call a positioning and project trajectory, aim to attract more financial and non-financial resources (partners, associates, supporters among European institutions) who are familiar with and advocate for the development agenda proposed by the ecosystem of the North East region.
The flagship events of the North East region included in the official agenda were:
Panel on the theme: Vanguard Initiative regions’ pilot activities leading by example in the post-industrial transition. Co-organizers: ADR North East together with regions from the Vanguard Initiative: East Netherlands, Asturias, Galicia (Spain), the Basque Country (Spain), Slovenia, Piedmont (Italy).
Panel on the theme: Empowering Change: How local and regional authorities drive behavioral change in the energy sector. Co-organizers: Botoșani County Council together with regions and cities from Slovakia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Serbia.
The Brussels Representation Office of ADR North East represents the North East region in the EU. This structure takes on the mission to work with counties, municipalities, universities, research institutions, companies, schools, and professional associations to maximize the opportunities offered by the EU in the Moldova Euroregion. All the details and conclusions from the European Week of Regions will be published by ADR North East on its website.