PURPLE & Friends at EWRC: Transnational Networks as Agents of Regional Change

Oct 22, 2017

On 11 October, two PURPLE regions (Surrey and Flanders) together with 3 non-PURPLE regions (Regione Toscana in Italy; Vallée de la Bruche joint municipalities in the Grand Est of France; and Krapina-Zagorje County in Western Croatia) co-organised a workshop entitled ‘Regions and change – the transformative power of transnational networks’.

The event, which took place at the Liaison Agency Flanders-Europe (VLEVA) in Brussels, was part of the official programme of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 and aimed to increase appreciation of the contribution made by transnational co-operation networks in bringing about change. Four such networks shared experiences, thoughts and future aspirations, giving the assembled group of 70+ from fourteen countries the chance to learn about transnational networks’ role in policy development and project delivery.

In addition to PURPLE the three other such networks were:

  • FEDARENE - European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment);

  • ERIAFF - European Regions for Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Forestry; and

  • FECOF - European Federation of Forest Municipalities

In her speech PURPLE president Helyn CLACK highlighted that “a key point about transnationality and the value of networks such as PURPLE (is that) if I want to find my real peers I may have to go some distance!! Having found them of course we want to explore how best to collaborate. PURPLE is a result of exactly such an exploration!!”. Indeed it transpired that transnational networks such as those featured in this workshop have a key role to play in both developing high-quality policy and in implementing that policy through projects, ongoing work and other means. In all instances, networks with either a thematic or territorial starting point or focus make a significant contribution to the positive development of both policy and practice – they bring by their very nature, a breadth of experience, a depth of understanding and a cross-representation of members.