In an increasingly interconnected world, the role of cooperation and connectivity is more important than ever before. By working together we strive to facilitate better policy-making, better conditions for regional cooperation, and more investments and shared capacities. ECRN bears unique features within the European scene as a network of public authorities with a specific focus on the development of the chemical industry. We believe that the chemical industry can effectively respond to Europe’s societal challenges with sustainable and innovative solutions if its economic growth is linked to territorial development.
As the chemical industry undergoes transformations that ask for new forms of engagement, we need platforms where stakeholders are brought together. As a network of chemical regions focused on cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation, ECRN has already been providing such platform.
We provide a platform where regional actors can raise awareness about the impact of EU policies at local level, share common challenges and exchange ideas for possible solutions. We provide insights to our members on the most recent policy developments and give voice to our region’s interests in the EU policy debate. We organize regular internal and public events, together with the European Institutions – European Commission, European Parliament, and the European Committee of the Regions – as well as with our regional partners and stakeholders.
We gather experts from the public, private, and research sectors and support them to identify how they can be complementary to each other and what they can learn from each other in terms of policies and strategies, research work, industrial partnerships, emerging value chains, and markets. In this way, we build connections and linkages between sectors, actors, and across borders. As an example, ECRN is leading the chemical industry’s thematic partnership under the Smart Specialisation S3platform, supporting the establishment of common projects and regional joint investments, with the objective of modernization of the chemical industry and increase interregional cooperation.
We facilitate knowledge sharing and the transfer of technical know-how among regional authorities and stakeholders. We provide a network where regions can learn from each other and share the most successful policies and strategies to make their chemical industry more sustainable and competitive. As an example, the European Commission involved ECRN members in the study Analysis of policies in chemical regions to support the competitiveness of the chemicals industry. The final report was used by ECRN to look at practical steps for implementing its recommendations across member regions.
Taking part in the shaping of EU policies is a network priority. As regions act as testbeds for new innovative solutions, approaches or policy strategies, their experiences should be leveraged by the EU institutions when building EU-wide policies. We have participated several times in the collection of regional inputs for the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions. An example, ECRN in the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Chemicals Industry, chaired by the Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry Policy at this time, Mr. Verheugen. We have developed political statements and position papers on important European policy areas such as the European Industrial Strategy, the Emission Trading System (ETS), SMEs, Bioeconomy, and Cohesion Policy.
We believe that regions can benefit greatly by investing in common projects or by taking part in EU initiatives. For this reason, we raise awareness and engage our members in EU funded projects and initiatives, and provide a platform where reached results and gained knowledge are shared. ECRN members participate in Interreg and Horizon2020 projects to leverage common smart specialization priorities and benchmark best practices. They also take part in the Initiative European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service, implemented by the European Commission, to promote sustainability in Europe’s chemical industry. As an example, ECRN is part of POWER4BIO, a Horizon 2020 project supporting the development of sustainable bio-economy strategies in 11 countries.