The Network of Regional Hubs is an initiative of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), gathering 36 local or regional authorities selected as contact points to involve, partner up and maintain close links with various stakeholders involved in EU policy implementation at local level (see map). Its aim is to test the method for EU legislation implementation reporting. Indeed, EU legislation implies an ongoing learning-by-doing for local and regional authorities working in close contact with local businesses, social partners, civil society, and citizens. The local and regional authorities’ experience in implementing EU legislation are valuable sources of knowledge for the design of new legislation and the review of the existing one.
RegHub emerged from the Report of the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Porportionality and “Doing Less More Efficiently” where the CoR proposed to “set up a structured and systematic feedback mechanism involving regions and local authorities. This could include the setting up of a decentralised network on monitoring of EU policy implementation at local and regional level, codified in the relevant EU legislation” (CoR, 2018, p. 9).
The objective of the CoR proposition is to promote a more proportionate and effective EU policymaking, given that local and regional authorities implement large parts of the EU legislation. The CoR aims at finding solutions for the several identified shortcomings in the regional implementation of EU legislation, such as:
- The low participation of local and regional authorities in the Commission’s current consultations.
- The growing demand of EU institutions for more local and regional evidence.
- The lack of systematic feedback from the local and regional level in the implementation of EU policies.
Ultimately, the objectives of RegHubs are:
- To improve existing EU legislation and its implementation at local and regional levels;
- To provide technical feedback on the implementation of EU legislation at local and regional levels;
- To ensure better involvement of local and regional actors at an early stage of the EU legislative process;
- To promoting simplification and interregional learning in implementing and designing EU legislation.
The pilot stage of RegHub was officially launched on 15 March 2019 at the 8th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Bucharest, Romania. Its overall timeline is the following:
- A Preparatory Phase (October 2018 – January 2019) to set up the network.
- A Pilot Phase (February 2019 – September 2020) to set up regional contact points and to select topics and policy areas to follow-up through consultations to collect local and regional experiences on EU policy implementation.
- An Evaluation Phase (September – December 2020) through a consultation of the participating regions about the work carried out, and a consultation of the CoR members that were directly involved in the work of the pilot project.
- A Mainstreaming Phase (from January 2021) based on a positive decision by the CoR Bureau regarding continuation of the project following the evaluation results and a decision by the EU institutions for substantial EU co-financing of future project activities. The mainstreaming phase shall start at the beginning of the next programming period in early 2021.
The European Commission recently launched its call for proposals on Competence centres for social innovation.
This dissemination event (17/09/2020) will give the floor to the regions and share their experiences related to the online open innovation platform.
Towards the end of a project, it is time to ponder upon the long-lasting results – things that will have an impact long after the project activities. I