On April 11th 2019, the presidency of the Four Motors for Europe was handed over from Baden-Württemberg to Lombardy in a ceremony in Stuttgart.
Around 120 people, including delegations from all four regions, attended the public conference on that occasion in New Palace (Neues Schloss) of Stuttgart. For one and a half years, Baden-Württemberg has held the presidency of the network and initiated various events, activities, networks and projects aiming at enhancing the cooperation between the four regions. Thereby, Baden-Württemberg could build on 30 years of cooperation.
In the light of the 30th anniversary, the Baden-Württemberg presidency put an emphasis on the role of the regions in the European Union. Ever since their foundation, the Four Motors for Europe advocated a strong and active role of regions in the European Union. In his speech that day, Minister President Winfried Kretschmann underlined the importance of the upcoming elections of the European Parliament and stated “We must not put our European Union at risk since especially our four economically and scientifically strong regions of the Four Motors for Europe benefit from it.”
Regions provide an important contribution to the rich and diverse European cultural identity. The numerous regional languages, dialects and gastronomic specialties render this rich cultural heritage of European regions with accuracy. Therefore, the presidency of Baden-Württemberg made the regional cultural heritage in Europe a focal area of their working programme. The conference at the occasion of the anniversary is one example. At the Genussgipfel in November 2018, the four regions furthermore underlined their joint intention to conserve the unique and rich European regional food culture.
Also in other fields the Baden-Württemberg’s presidency of the network has provided new impetus. The Four Motors for Europe thus jointly approach questions that affect or will affect the everyday life of citizens in the four regions. This encompasses questions like “How will the mobility of the future look like?” or “How can we maintain a high standard of living to an ageing population?” Amongst the focal areas of the presidency were the transformation of the automotive industry as well as digitalization in health and care.
One of the projects initiated during the presidency of Baden-Württemberg is the school project “Four Motors Online”. In this school year’s edition, students from secondary and higher academic and vocational secondary schools from all four regions jointly explored the topic “Our future in the Four Motors for Europe”. After having worked together via an online platform the students met in Stuttgart for project days in the week the handover ceremony took place. A group of students and teachers attended the conference and had the opportunity to ask the political representatives from the four regions questions based on their project results.
At the end of his speech, the Minister President of Baden-Württemberg wished the Lombardian presidency the best of luck, pointing out that he hopes that the Four Motors will continue to provide important impetus for the European integration process. After 30 years, the Four Motors for Europe renewed their commitment to collaborate in a strategy. The strategy intends to enhance the governance of the network and thereby to intensify the cooperation.