Today, the Enterprise and Competitiveness Secretary from the Ministry Business and Labour, Pere Torres, and the Director General of Telecommunications and Information Society, Jordi Puigneró, presented the Generalitat’s SmartCATALONIA strategy at the Government’s delegation in Brussels.
The presentation was part of the day’s workshop session entitled “Workshop Smart Catalonia Strategy” which was organised by the Directorate General of Communication and Information Society and held in the Government of the Catalonia’s delegation to the EU in Brussels where it received representation from members of the European Commission as well as various experts in the ICT field.
The session was led by Amadeu Altafaj, Permanent Representative of the Government of Catalonia to the EU, who, in his welcoming speech, highlighted the strategic support of European institutions to spread the Smart concept across Europe and establish synergies among leading regions in this field to allow European Smart policies to be implemented.
“Ever since the accession in 1986, Catalonia has been contributing to the EU with innovative ideas, responding to the challenges and sharing expertise”, affirmed Altafaj. “In times of growing euro-scepticism, Catalonia’s commitment to European integration and values should be treasured”, he added.
SmartCATALONIA, a leading strategy
Catalonia is positioning itself among leading Smart European regions and has therefore gone beyond specific recommendations. With the SmartCATALONIA strategy, which was passed by the Government in October, it has become the first region to develop a comprehensive approach strategy of this calibre.
The strategy’s aim, however, is to go further with its initiatives in the regional territory in order to spread the Smart City concept to what the European Commission calls the “Smart region”. Its ultimate objective is to develop and enable a programme that integrates and coordinates local and supra-local initiatives, giving support to companies and fostering smart projects from Catalonia’s perspective.
In this regard, SmartCATALONIA strategy is in line with the European Commission’s “Europe 2020” strategy. Furthermore, its main objective is to make Catalonia an international reference for Smart regions benefiting from the use of technology and digital information and encouraging innovate in public services, enhancing economic growth and supporting a smarter, more sustainable and highly integrated society.
The Enterprise and Competitiveness Secretary, Pere Torres assured that “Catalonia has set itself the goal to become a leader and fulfill the potential of a strategy which integrates technology. This is also a way to modernise and plan a transition towards a new economy”.
Torres added that “the Catalan Government wants to be at the forefront of EU smart specialization, building a new country where people can work and live better, based on qualified sectors, within digital strategy framework, ready to overcome future and current obstacles”.
“The Catalan Government does not want either Catalonia or Europe to become mere consumers of smart technology solutions coming from the United States or Asia”, stated the Director General of Telecommunications and Information society, Jordi Puigneró, “we want Catalonia to be a territory that creates employment in the emerging data industry […] our goal with SmartCATALONIA is to put the citizen at the heart of this new Smart governance of cities and countries”.
Also intervening in the day’s event was Markku Markkula, current President of the Committee of the Regions, whom is internationally renown in the field of innovation and Smart strategies. Mr. Markkula addressed the role of the different actors to reinforce smart public strategies. In this regard, he emphasized that “the European Union needs pioneer regions, and Catalonia has proved to have a key role in this sense”.
President Markkula also explained the role of different actors to enhance public smart strategies: “Specialisation is an opportunity to transform EU economic agenda. This dynamic is an evolving process which is adapting to a constantly changing context”. “We hope that many regions follow Catalonia and propose specialisation strategies. We need pioneering cities and regions that innovate in this field to develop a stable EU model”, added Markkula.
Markkula’s intervention was followed by a talk from the Deputy Director of the i2CAT Foundation, Artur Serra, who referred to the role of Tech and research centres as hunters and developers of talent and knowledge that should help to conceive smart products and policies in Europe.
Additionally, from the European institutional standpoint, Svetoslav Mihaylov, the European Commission’s Representative for the Communications, Networks, Content and Technology Directorate General addressed the issue of the various challenges smart regions have from a EU perspective.
For more information on the SmartCATALONIA strategy click here.