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European Clusters and Regions for Eco-Innovation Network Plus (ECREIN+)
Date du début: 31 déc. 2009, Date de fin: 30 déc. 2012 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

In 2006, 6 European regions (Rhone-Alpes, Andalusia, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Ile de France, Lombardy, and Malopolska) decided to work together to propose innovative financial instruments to support eco-innovation and SMEs at the regional level. The ECREIN network (European Clusters and Regions for Eco-investments Network) was created with the support of the DG ENV G3 Unit within the European Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP).At the end of this project (December 2007) the 6 regions decided to continue to develop their activities, aware that regional policies and actions must be efficient to implement the new, green, low carbon economy that Europe and the Earth need.Indeed, the first ECREIN project clearly exposed the lack of knowledge, adapted tools and coordination between public and private sectors, and as a consequence, the difficulty for financiers to invest in this specific sector.On the basis of a Charter, a work programme and a dissemination plan, the six partners wished to expand their network with new regions from other European countries. Their objective: develop tools and actions to implement innovative regional policies supporting eco-innovation and eco-businesses, easily adaptable to every European region.The ECREIN+ project submitted to INTERREG IVC as a regional initiative project will associate 6 new regions coming from 5 new countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Belgium. For a larger dissemination, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) will be an active partner and responsible for the communication Component of the project.The project will be divided into 3 components: the management component lead by Rhone-Alpes, the communication component lead by AER and the exchange of experience component lead by Andalusia with 3 work groups related to the main issues of a regional eco-innovation policy (the market, governance and tools, and efficiency).The 12 regions and the AER will participate in the kick-off meeting (in Sweden), the steering committees, the 3 conferences (in UK, Poland and France) and in several workshops. The ECREIN website (and other communication events coordinated by AER) will allow for broad dissemination of the project's actions and results (methodological kit, guides of best practices, policy recommendations and databases).The very innovative results expected of ECREIN+ will be specific tools, concepts and approaches allowing European regions to develop high-level, efficient and adapted policies to support eco-innovation and eco-businesses.The economic and environmental crisis requires innovation for genuine, sustainable development. The regional level is very well suited for effective action in this field because of the proximity to stakeholders and the ability of Regions to develop flexible, innovative and adapted policies. Thus the ECREIN+ project will be a good example of the implementation of the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies. Achievements: The project ECREIN+ is gathering together 11 partners coming from 9 countries of the European territory and AER. This partnership aims at identifying the best regional strategy and policies to support eco-innovation and eco-businesses. The kick-off meeting took place in February 2010 in Uppsala (Sweden). It was the occasion to gather together all the partnership to launch the project and its activities' plan. Indeed 3 working groups are created to deal with the following questions: with whom are we working with? How do we work? How effective are we?The first technical meeting took place in Sibiu (Romania) in June 2010. It was the occasion to establish a strategy through a questionnaire to determine what are the good practices connected with regional eco-innovation's supports (Region Lombardia). About WG1: some partners mentioned they found the methodology sent by P2 to create a EGS sector directory too complex and should be simplified. The “state of the art” of statistical economicstudies of the EGS sector present a wide and heterogeneous vision from the different regions based on he lack of specific studies on EGS sector. A questionnaire was sent to compare partners data. Moreover some partners have built up their own regional platform gathering together local stakeholders concerned with eco-innovations. Those are meeting once a semester. The results are used to fill in the questionnaire about the good practices.November 2010: :2nd technical meeting in Sevilla - presentation of the State of the Art of economic activities of the environmental sector, of the P5 national EGS sector highlighting the difficulties to find available data at regional level, and of the methodology to build a database of EGS sector. Areas, fields and structure to take into account in the common directory was also finally agreed. The 1st communication conference was organized in Brussels in December 2010 to present the project to the representatives of the European Regions. This meetingwas the occasion to discuss the public-private partnership (PPP) in eco-innovation. In 2011, the partnership met in March in Paris to discuss the results of the questionnaires on regional good practices. One day was also devoted to the thematic of ecoparks. During the steering committee, the LP offered itself to hire external expertise to help with the current works and lead component 3. Then the partnership met in June 2011 in Stara Zagora (Bulgaria) to discuss the good practices connected with the EGS sector and to define a set of criteria extracted from the regional questionnaires to build another questionnaire which will addressed to SME. This questionnaire was presented by P4 in November 2011 during the 2nd communication conference in Krakow on ecotourism.During the 5th semester, the partnership organised an international conference in Milan (20-22March), on Green Public Procurement as an instrument for eco-innovation. It was the occasion to present and discuss results fromquestionnaire Lombardy had prepared and to prepare the guide of best practices. The component 3 met in June in Paris,with Technopolis ITD, the external expertise the Rhône-Alpes Regional Council contracted to provide assistance to the management and coordination of component 3. The partners have begun to work on the good practice guide, and they developed a methodology to identify good practices to include in the catalogue. During that period, a questionnaire that aimed at assessing the existing regional eco-innovation support instruments has been finalised, and presented during the conference in Milan. That questionnaire is directed to the SME of the partner’s countries. A web-based platform was created, for industrial enterprises to complete the questionnaire. It is designed as market feedback mechanisms for regions implementing eco-innovation support policies. The results will be presented in the 6th period, during the final conference:



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