The Catalan Government and the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna have shared experiences to confront the health, economic and social crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Bernat Solé, met electronically with the Vice-President and the Regional Councillor for the fight against inequality and the ecological transition in Emilia-Romagna, Elly Schlein. They have exchanged good practices on measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and minimize its effects on the population.
Minister Solé had the opportunity to explain the decisions taken by the Government the last months in terms of emergency policies to confront the consequences of COVID-19. The meeting was also useful to learn first-hand about the experience of the Italian region, one of the economic engines of the country and Europe. It was one of the first regions of the continent to impose lockdown on March 8 this year. In addition, Schlein has shown interest in learning about the Mediterranean Strategy of Catalonia MedCat 2030.
Catalonia and Emilia-Romagna are already two active partners in various European networks. Within the INTERREG MED program, both territories have an excellent collaboration in the PANORAMED project (ongoing since 2017), especially in the Innovation working group. Both governments also participate in the Conference of Maritime Peripheral Regions (CPMR). Emilia-Romagna is a member of the Adriatic Ionian Euroregion, which belongs to the Mediterranean Cooperation Alliance together with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion, MedCities and Latin Arch. In this alliance, Catalonia and Emilia-Romagna are working on a common approach to macro-regional and maritime strategies.
The meeting was also attended by Elisabet Nebreda, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the European Union; Luca Bellizzi, Government Delegate in Italy; and Meritxell Serret, Government Delegate to the European Union.
Last December, the Catalan Government approved a memorandum with Emilia-Romagna to strengthen mutual cooperation. The agreement, which is to be signed soon, includes some of the objectives defined by the Europe Plan and the Mediterranean Strategy. The agreement expects for the two territories to share excellence in terms of innovation, 'big data', artificial intelligence and governance, as well as in the field of university and research, among others. The Memorandum also supports institutional cooperation between Catalonia and Emilia-Romagna in the framework of Mediterranean networks and policies and strengthens their relations to define and promote innovative forms of cooperation. In addition, it promotes collaboration between universities, joint projects in the field of the climate crisis and the implementation of Agenda 2030.