As part of the ongoing cooperation between the two Four Motors groups, the European partners joined their Mercosur counterparts in Cordoba (Argentina) to discuss the Clean Tech Initiative.
The Rhône-Alpes presidency of the Four Motors for Europe had the honour of organising an institutional, economic and technical mission to Cordoba (Argentina) aimed at strengthening ties between the two groups. During the meeting, expert roundtables were held to discuss energy recovery from waste and the production of energy from biomass. The daily discussions revolved around five themes identified within the general Clean Tech framework approved by the eight regions:
- Education and awareness-raising in the area of waste treatment
- Coordination, guidelines and territorial ecology
- Development of waste recycling
- Development and adaptation of biomass thermal treatment technologies
- Anaerobic digestion process and production of energy from biogas
On Wednesday 29 February, a seminar was held between the political representatives from the delegations for the Four Motors for Europe and the Four Motors for Mercosur. During the meeting, the elected representatives from both sides of the Atlantic were able to present and discuss the regions' environmental policies and their potential for clean technology, with a view to defining the main focus areas for future work under the programme.
The eight regions (Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia, Lombardy, Rhône-Alpes, Paraná, Alto Paraná, Rivera and Cordoba) are convinced of the importance of promoting sustainable development. To achieve this end, it is vital that the regions play an active part in rolling out new, environmentally-friendly energy models. They must also draw inspiration from each other's best practices so that together they can move forward and attain the common objectives set out in the Clean Tech initiative.
The main initiatives and projects undertaken by the Four Motors for Europe:
> The Economy and Employment
- Creation of a "Clusters" workshop on the topic of good practices in regional policies to promote innovation and networking among European clusters.
- Organization of a series of talks on employment, the last of which was hosted by Stuttgart in 2008. These encounters bring together labour representatives from the four regions to explore and discuss the changing face of employment.
> The Environnment and sustainable Developpment
- Participation in the ECREIN+ project. Its purpose is to promote eco-innovation on a European scale by pooling techniques, financial resources and good practices to support SMEs and clusters active in the field of eco-innovation.
- Participation in the Regio LLL scheme designed to promote the exchange of experiences and the implementation of joint projects on professional training and lifelong career guidance in conjunction with FREREF - the Foundation of European Regions for Research in Education and Training.
- Conclusion of agreements to simplify exchange programs between apprentices from the four regions.
- Allocation of grants to help A-level and university students gain experience in the four partner regions.
- Organization of consciousness-raising workshops for young citizens from the regions of the Four Motors for Europe.
- Cooperation in the sphere of film-making, drama, music and artist-in-residence programmes.
- Organisation of annual sports meetings for promising young athletes from the Four Motors for Europe in the following disciplines: gymnastics, judo, athletics, table tennis, canoeing and kayaking.
> The Four Motors for Europe is cooperating closely with the Four Motors for Mercosur network composed of the State of Paraná in Brazil, the Department of Alto Paraná in Paraguay, the Province of Córdoba in Argentina and the Department of Rivera in Uruguay.
The two networks hope to collaborate on joint economic, environmental and research and development projects.
> The Four Motors for Europe is actively involved in the global District of Creativity network in which 12 of the world's most creative regions have joined forces to share know-how and best practices in creativity and innovation.
> Every year, the Four Motors for Europe sends a technical and economic mission to an event outside Europe:
- 2010: Agri-food trade mission in the States of Paraná and Minas Gerais (Brazil).
- 2008: Participation in the Euro-Russian Forum on agri-food technologies at Yekaterinburg (Russia),
- 2007: Participation in the "FICCI Environment Conclave" (National Congress of Indian Chambers of Commerce on the environment) in New Delhi (India),
- 2006: Participation in the Bio-Forum in Shanghai (China),
- 2006: Economic Mission to Morocco on sustainable development and green technologies