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clusters.pngDG Enterprise has published today its Communication on “Powerful clusters: Main drivers of Europe’s competitiveness”. It calls for more efforts for facilitating the emergence of world-class clusters in the European Union. The new strategy identifies persistent market fragmentation, weak industry-research linkages and insufficient cooperation as main barriers in the EU for achieving critical mass and innovation capacity to face global competition. In proposes among others to:

1. Improve the functioning of the internal market and remove remaining barriers, in particular those hampering knowledge flows, mobility of qualified staff or access to finance across borders;

2. Establish a high-level European Cluster Policy Group to explore ways on how best assist Member States in supporting the emergence of world-class clusters;

3. Expand the policy dialogue initiated by the European Cluster Alliance among Members States and EU regions for exchanging practices for designing better cluster policies;

4. Further develop the European Cluster Observatory into a full-fledged service to clusters and innovative enterprises for fostering transnational cooperation by developing partnerships across the EU;

5. Launch a pilot scheme, a European Cluster Academy, to offer training programmes for cluster managers and work towards a quality label for cluster organisations.

ERRIN. is going to organize a roundtable debate in the Committee of the Regions on 11 December 2008 to present the initiative and discuss the implications and opportunities of this for Europe’s regions. Save the date, I will keep you posted. And remember (I have said this before): Especially in economic times like these, the innovative regions are the ones that will prosper. Are you ready?

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