International Forum; University in society: Cross-border
cooperation and regional development
18-19 May 2018
Senate Hall – Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (A Building)
The first edition of the International Forum ‘University in society: Cross-border cooperation and regional development’ took place between 18 and 19 May 2018 at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, being organised by the Centre for European Studies in collaboration with the European Institute of Romania and the Polish Embassy in Romania. This year edition was organised within ‘European Dialogues’ campaign dedicated to the preparation of Romania's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the partnership of Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The International Forum aims at bringing together particularly the societal actors in the border regions who are interested in issues related to the Eastern border of the EU. Apart from fostering a favourable environment for debates and problem-solving type of discussions, the forum also enhances cooperation and dialogue between specialists in the academic field and civil society representatives from the border area. The opening speeches were addressed by Corneliu IAȚU, Vice-Rector of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Gabriela Carmen PASCARIU, head of the Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, coordinator of ENACTED Project, and Victor NEGRESCU, Minister Delegate for European affairs/Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Furthermore, the first day of the forum consisted in two public debates: ‘Cross-border cooperation at EU’s eastern borderlands: an engine for regional development. Challenges for the European Cohesion Policy’ with contribution by the experts from European Institute of Romania, Regional Office for Cross-border Cooperation Suceava, North-East Regional Development Agency, local stakeholders as well as professors from five Romanian universities and ‘University in Society: increasing universities’ participa-tion in the local and regional societal challenges’ organised in partnership with North-East Regional Development Agency. The debate enhanced a network of specialists, leaders, academics and civil activists and increased academia capacity to cooperate with local and regional stakeholders and civil society in generating awareness and producing knowledge.During the second day the forum focused on the academic discussion entitled ‘Rethinking European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership – best way forward?’ with participation of ENACTED members and the other academics. The event established a platform for active debates and developed working groups for identifying solutions to existing regional problems bringing new insights and visions about cross-border instruments. Overall, the forum brought together approximatively 50 speakers, 30 local and 20 non-local experts (academics, diplomats, researchers, professional groups, representatives of civil society) specialized in cross-border cooperation and societal participation.
The International Forum “University in society: Cross-border cooperation and regional development” is organised by Centre for European Studies of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University within “European Dialogues” campaign dedicated to the preparation of Romania's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The event is organised in partnership with: European Institute of Romania, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, North-East Regional Development Agency, Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Siret-Prut-Nistru Euroregion Association, Jean Monnet European Documentation Centre.The Forum is specifically designed to bring together particularly the societal actors in the border regions who are interested in issues related to the regional development and cross-border cooperation at the EU’s Eastern borderlands. The aim of the event is to enhance the level of the interaction between stakeholders from Romania, Belarus, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine (academia, policy-makers, and civil society representatives), keeping them constantly connected to European realities and establish solid ties between participants, bringing new insights and new visions about cross-border instruments.The event proposes to the participant’s public debates, focused on the three key issues:
1. Regional development. From cohesion to competitiveness
In the last decades, EU Cohesion Policy (EUCP) delivered incontestable results in all EU regions and represented an important source of investments. However, the regional economic gaps are slowly shrinking again in the EU and the Brexit creates a significant impact on both the current and particularly the next EU budget. The EU Cohesion Policy is at a new crossroads and the negotiation among EU policy-makers on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) after 2020 should be supported by fertile debates in different academic and research area from all EU member states. The European Commission’s proposal on the next MFF, presented in 2nd May 2018, indicates that not only fewer resources will be available for EU Cohesion Policy in the post-2020 period but also significant changes will be experienced in the EU management.The first objective of the panel will be to encourage the sharing of experience and good practices among some countries from the EU Eastern side (Poland, Romania and Ukraine) concerning the management of EU fund in the current 2014-2020 MFF. Which are the main national and/or regional achievements and failures in using the EU funds? Which of the 2014-2020 MFF’s lessons could be used in the design of the next MFF? The second objective of the panel will be to discuss different issues related to the reform of the next EU Cohesion Policy (after 2021). How should the future EU Cohesion Policy address the new and growing challenges, from migration, terrorism, security to digitalization and cyber security? Which might be the main objectives of the future EUCP: cohesion or competitiveness, urban dimension or rural dimension, transition regions or lagging regions, support of jobs and innovation or infrastructure, etc.? Which must be the most efficient form of support for beneficiaries: grants, financial instruments or, likely, a mix of all of these? And which might be the relation between the EUCP and the European Fund for Strategic Investment (known as Juncker Plan/Instrument)?
2. University in Society: increasing universities’ participation in the local and regional societal challenges
The concept of ‘university in society’ is transposed by the ENACTED project through the objective of increasing academia capacity to cooperate with civil society in generating awareness, producing and transfer knowledge. The main scope of the debate is to identify opportunities for the development of cross-border academic networks for regional development and to increase the involvement of universities along the value chain, the debate being centered on the following topics:a. The role of universities in regional development: expertise and decision-making along the value chain of knowledge;b. Cross-border collaboration for smart regional specialization: proposals, opportunities and challenges
3. Rethinking European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership – best way forward?
Since its inception, the neighbourhood strategy of the EU has hardly been able to alleviate the difficulties post-Soviet Eastern Europe faces. Despite being committed to supporting reforms in the fields of democracy promotion, human rights, good governance and economy, the incentive-based approach has not been sufficiently strong. Most of the EaP countries have embarked in the past years on a reversed path, amidst growing illiberal and anti-democratic trends. Moreover, the Eastern proximity of the EU has gradually turned into a less stable and secured area, in spite of the originally stated goal of regional stability. The panel proposes a debate focused on the implications of the latest political events in the region and analyses whether the reviewed neighbourhood instruments are able to bring added value and enhance regional cooperation. The debate is organized with the contribution of key research staff members of the Enacted project - European Union and its neighbourhood. Network for enhancing EU’s actorness in the eastern borderlands associates research, teaching, debate and dissemination activities in the area of European Studies - based on their preliminary research results.ENACTED it is a Jean Monnet network consisting of 12 partners (8 universities and 4 NGOs) from 6 countries: Romania, Hungary, Poland, Belarus, R. Moldova, Ukraine.The event is organized within the framework of the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Project ENACTED European Union and its neighbourhood. Network for enhancing EU’s actorness in the eastern borderlands 2017-2625 coordinated by Centre for European Studies - Alexandru Ioan Cuza university of Iasi
University in society: Cross-border cooperation and regional