The objective of RegioStars 2015 is to identify good practice in regional development and to highlight original and innovative projects or support schemes that could be inspiring to other regions and project managers. Eligible projects or support schemes have been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund, or the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.
There are four RegioStars Award categories for 2015:
- Smart Growth: Unleashing SME growth potential for a digital economy
- Sustainable Growth: Mobilizing investments in energy efficiency for the benefit of citizens and society
- Inclusive Growth: Integrating in society those at risk of social exclusion
- CityStar: Transforming cities for future challenges
The European Commission announced on the 26th june the finalists for the RegioStars 2015 awardss, 17 finalists from 143 entries on the basis of four key criteria:
- Innovative character of the project
- Impact (or expected impact) of the project in terms of initial objectives REGIOSTARS 2015
- Expected financial sustainability of the project: Evidence could include development towards self-financing or demonstration that the project has or will be part of a succession of projects sequentially funded by other EU financial instruments
- Possibility to extrapolate good practices of the project to other regions. Project’s results in enhancing local, regional and interregional partnerships: Evidence could include demonstration that the project has inspired other regions’ projects/programmes or that good practices were shared with other regions.
The finalists come from regions and cities in 15 Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The four final winners will be announced during the 2015 OPEN DAYS event in Brussels from 12 to 15 October 2015.
Commenting on the selection, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said, “I congratulate all finalists, as those projects selected by the Jury serve as best practices examples for other regions and cities of the kind of investments we want to see more in the future. This year’s finalists are model projects in SME growth, energy efficiency, social inclusion, and urban development, all with the aim of improving the quality of life of their citizens. Being a finalist for the RegioStars Awards is not only a quality label designating a great project, it is also international recognition for regions and cities for their innovative and creative approaches in the use of EU funds.”
Article by Nora Lázaro