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Today I received a pre-event newsletter of the Euregia 2008 that is running from 27 to 29 October 2008 in Leipzig, Germany. According to its organisers, Euregia is “Europe’s largest communication and benchmarking forum on regional development and territorial cooperation”. While this is certainly a bit of hyperbole, since the Open Days are clearly larger in terms of audience and number of workshops, I would like to highlight this event, since they have quite a good exhibition formula attracting a vibrant mix of regional public authorities, national and regional development organisations and quite a numer of consultants.

The exhibition concept is certainly something the Open Days can learn from. The downside is that you have to pay if you want to have a stand there, but then stand costs can be easily compensated by making use of their great conference facilities, which can accommodate small and large events alike and are very competitive or even for free, if as an organization you can offer an interesting event that adds value to the Euregia programme.

The focus of the Euregia is rather broad, but that’s the same for comparable events like the Open Days. I have participated several times as an exhibitor and event organizer and I kind of really got to like the Euregia, although as with the Open Days and most other events of the kind, I would really like to see more online content and follow-up. Our professional meeting culture is still so much physical although we have this huge social online space that is exploding of activity. But I am getting into the web 2.0 debate again that we had last week (see my last post)

In any case, the Euregia is certainly an alternative to the frenzy of the Open Days and not just another event, particularly if you are based in Central Europe, while of course being far from being able to offer the density of the Open Days programme. Anyway, I will quote from their newsletter: “The special features of this year’s euregia include the congress “Economy and Space” [space is a bit of an unfortunate translation of the German term “Raum”, territory would have been better ?], the “Road to Financing” and the event, “Innovative and Transnational Cooperation” of CENTRAL EUROPE. For the first time, the exhibition and congress will take place jointly at the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL). “This offers a wider range of possibilities to use the exhibition area and creates a compact combination of exhibition space and congress podiums”.

To be fair, I should say that at one point I was asked to join their Advisory Board, which I did, but I certainly don’t get anything out personally of doing a bit of promotion for them. In general, I always thought it was a pity that there was not more cooperation between the Brussels institutions and Euregia, although there is no lack of interest on the side of the organisers, the Messe Leipzig, which are very much supported in this by Saxony. By the way, the conference venue as such is another great example of what you can do with Structural Funds money. Unfortunately, I can’t be there this time, since it is colliding with other important events, which is always a bit of a problem with the Euregia, but so far they didn’t get round to organizing it in spring instead of autumn, but I do wish Ulrike Lange and her team a successful event.

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