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EU And Brazil Sign MoU On Regional Policy Cooperation

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

04 December 2007

Late last week, Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Brazilian Ministry of National Integration to set up a structured dialogue on regional policy.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the European Commission and the Brazilian Ministry of National Integration, initiates cooperation in areas such as:

  • Setting up technical working groups and cooperation between regions on both sides; organisation of meetings (seminars, conferences) with experts, politicians, officials, and private companies;
  • Support from the European Union for reinforcing local structures and regional development agencies in Brazil;
  • Exchanges of views on issues such as: multi-level partnership (involving regional and local actors, the private sector and civil society), strategic planning and evaluation of regional policy, development of administrative capacity;
  • Information exchange on classification and definition of regions.

At the invitation of Mr Geddel Vieira Lima, Minister of National Integration, she also opened an EU-Brazil seminar on regional policy.

Commenting ahead of the MoU signing, Commissioner Hübner explained that:

"With this regional policy dialogue, we recognise that we share interests, ideals and aspirations; and that we face common challenges in balanced regional development. We are eager to learn from Brazil's experience. On our side, we would like to explain how Europe currently focuses on innovation in its regional policy, and how it has established partnerships with local and regional authorities to implement the policy. We will also share information on the tools we have successfully developed to foster cross-border cooperation."

As a starting point for cooperation, Danuta Hübner on Thursday opened a seminar entitled: "EU-Brazil seminar on regional policies", at which experts from the European Commission, Spain and Portugal briefed Brazilian regional actors on the impact that European cohesion policy has had in their respective countries.

The participants also tackled other common challenges such as: urban-rural disparities, developments in the energy market, climate change and demographic challenges.

Following the seminar, the Commissioner travelled to Petrolina in the Northeast region, an important development centre.

In February 2007, Brazil launched its National Policy for Regional Development, now formulated as a federal government policy. Brazil plans to create a National Fund for Regional Development, similar to the European Regional Development Fund.

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