It is a great satisfaction to me to have assumed, on behalf ot he Government of Catalonia, the rotating presidency of the Four Motors for Europe for this year 2015.
This network consisting of Baden-Württemberg, Lombardy, Rhône-Alpes and Catalonia is a benchmark within the European Union. It represents a model of success that exemplifies understanding as well as political impulse among these four not-neighbouring territories in order to work together for commercial and industrial development.
Twenty-six years ago this cooperation project among these leading territories in Europe was an innvoation exercise. In the current context of challenges and threats that Europe is confronting, it is a necessary strategy -and our collaboration is more important than ever.
In thisregard, let us remember that the origin of the European project lies in the willingness to end the conflictsq between neighbouring peoples that led to the two bloodiest war in history. Form the fifties until the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, the european Union has been built faithful to the principles that inspired it -and it has become a space of peace, freedom and respect for individual and collective rights, as well as the widest domain of welfare state in the world. Now, more than ever, we must remember and assert the ideals and principles on which this European project has been constructed, and with which Catalonia has always been committed.
The main objective of the Catalan presidency this year is to spur and reinforce cooperation in economics. In this regard we will promote actions aimed at creating platforms for debate and exchange of innovative, sustainable proposals and experiences to help our territories to be leaders in Europe.
We are convinced that the information and communication technologies are destined to be the motor of progress that will change the way we understand the world and that they will create qualified and added value job opportunities. ICTs will be, therefore, the driving force of our presidency.
Catalonia is a world reference in the field of innovation. In 2014 the European Commission chose Barcelona as European capital of innovation, and Catalonia’s capital is a leader among smart cities. Moreover, since 2011, Barcelona is the world capital of mobile technology -one of the top promising sectors bringing inversion and producing the strongest impact on all economic areas. Catalonia has alos defined its research and innovation strategy for smart specialization in Catalonia (RIS3CAT), which supports the creation and development of innovative projects.
Furthermore, we believe that our cooperation must contribute to the economic growth and to the welfare of our territories from a multi-sectoral perspective, since there are many sectors of activity impacting upon economy, such as re-industrialization, environment, agriculture, youth and training, creative industries or citizens’ participation, among others. All of them are important factors of growth and employment.
Let me alose briefly mention one of the main activities of this network and its international reach : the institutional, technical and business mission of the Four Motors for Europe that Catalonia will lead this year. It is in theses difficult times for our economies when both the companies and the governments must self-impose the search of new markets. Catalonia is convinced that the Four Motors for europe is a suitable platform so much to open doors in emergent countries for partner regions, as to offer to companies and institutions in these countries a contacts network attractive enough so they can consider Europe as an arena of thier external action.
With this presidency Catalonia wants to confirm its pro-European and continuist vocation as a reliable partner of territories with whom we have historical relations. We are committed to working on all these lines of action, with the support of all the network territories - a support that am convinced you will gladly offer, and for which I sincerely thank you.
I count on you all to make this presidency a great success and to keep the Four Motors for Europe as a model of excellence and reference in europe and world-wide.