October 2023 proved once again how important human contacts, the „corridor talks” are in creating a favourable atmosphere for taking the macro-regional idea into the next level. The 21th edition of the European Week of Regions in Brussels on 9-12 October was an in-person demonstration event bringing together several hundreds of stakeholders from all corners of Europe who faced the difficult task of choosing from among the more than 300 sessions where the topics ranged from cross-border cooperation through just energy transition to retaining young talents for regional growth. No surprise that the exhibition area, the networking village proved to be a permanent meeting place of all those looking for new ideas or contacts.
The opening session of the Week took place in the European Parliament where the director of European House Budapest managed to talk to Commissioner Ferreira and informed her about the plans to elaborate a proposal for a macro-regional civil strategy. Her smile was reassuring.
We were also present at the EUSBSR Annual Forum in Riga, Latvia and the EUSDR similar event in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. In both cases there were conscious endeavours to put emphasis on regulated involvement of young people to macro-regional policy-making even if it was clear that further efforts are needed to translate good high-level intentions into concrete daily actions.
The highlight of our stay in Slovenia was a meeting with a group of young local activists conveed by Zavod Nefiks, our partner organisation. A genuine international spirit characterised our discussions greatly assisted by a European Solidarity Corps volunteer from Italy, a PhD student from the UK/Sri Lanka and a young lady who decided to leave her motherland Russia behind.
We made further advances in October on preparing our proposal for a macro-regional civil strategy. Maison des Européens in Lyon hosted an event on 20 October where participants learned how to give a European, in this case an Alpine flavour to their daily local activities. An additional important element of the discussions in Lyon was the 2024 European Parliamentary elections with special attention to first-time voters. Concrete proposals were presented and developed enriching further our strategy paper.