Councillor Nick Small

Liverpool councillor takes up top Euro role

A Liverpool councillor will be helping to strengthen the city’s position in Europe, as he takes on a prestigious new role.

The city council’s Cabinet Member for Employment, Enterprise and Skills, Councillor Nick Small, will be appointed as the new chair of the EUROCITIES Economic Development Forum at a meeting of the Forum which is being held in Riga, capital city of Latvia, on Friday 5 October.

EUROCITIES is the network of major European cities, which brings together key politicians and officers from more than 140 large cities in the EU to help shape future European policy and develop opportunities to collaborate and exchange best practice in service delivery.

Councillor Small’s new role, which he will hold until 2014, will see him chair the Economic Development Forum, which has 78 member cities. The Forum meets three times a year and provides a vehicle for lobbying the European Commission to make sure future programmes and funding meet the needs of Europe’s cities. Amsterdam has agreed to serve as vice chair of the Forum

Having a Liverpool man at the helm will help give the city a stronger voice in Europe and put it in a better position to lobby the EU over vital funding as it prepares to deliver its €2,000 billion budget for 2012-2014.

Councillor Small said: “I’m really excited about taking on this new role and working closely with our partners over the next two years to make a real difference. I’m hopeful that we can have an impact on key decision makers and play our part in building a stronger economy in Europe.

“I’m becoming chair of the EUROCITIES Economic Development Forum at crucial moment for the EU, as it negotiates its budget for the next seven years. I’ll be making sure Liverpool’s interests are represented effectively and I’ll do all I can to ensure future European funding programmes aid the on-going development of our city.

“I’ll also be looking to bring the Liverpool experience to the Forum, and sharing with other member cities our successes in driving forward regeneration in our city and becoming more business-friendly.”

The Economic Development Forum consists of a number of working groups which come together to share best practice and collaborate on key issues such as funding, entrepreneurship, innovation, urban regeneration, city region governance, and low carbon economy.

Its ‘cohesion policy’ working group will seek to have input into the development of new European Union funding programmes to succeed Objective One and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which brought huge benefits to Merseyside.

The group will also look to influence the European Commission’s new €2.5bn programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), which will run from 2014 to 2020. The programme will provide finance for companies; promote business creation and growth; encourage an entrepreneurial culture in Europe; increase the competitiveness of EU companies; and help small businesses develop their overseas markets.

And the working group will look to help shape the development of Horizon 2020 – an €80 billion research and innovation initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020, the programme will invest in areas such as science, new technology and sustainable energy, as part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

Eurocities was established in 1986, by the mayors of six large cities: Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan and Rotterdam. It offers members a platform for sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas. It Influences and works with EU institutions – through forums, working groups, projects, activities and events, to respond to common issues that affect the day-to-day lives of Europeans.

Eurocities aims to reinforce the important role that local governments play, shape the opinions of Brussels stakeholders and shift the focus of EU legislation to allow city governments to tackle strategic challenges at local level.

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