H2020 Energy Info Day: Smart citizen-centred energy system and Smart Cities and Communities.

Charlemagne building (Brussels), 5th October 2018.


   The Horizon 2020 Energy info day took place on the 5th October in Brussels, in the Charlemagne building. It presented the upcoming funding opportunities offered by the EU's H2020 Programme to projects focusing on smart energy systems and smart cities and communities concepts. 

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      Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union a Europe 2020 flagship iniciative aimed at securing Europe’a global competitiveness.
In the event the following two points were given more importance: Smart citizen-centred energy system and Smart Cities and Communities.

      To achieve this it is necessary to analyze the following points:

  • EXCELLENT SCIENCE: The main objective is to make the Union’s research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale.
  • INDUSTRIAL AND TECHNOLOGIES: it is necessary to help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies and contribute to boosting competitiveness, creating jobs and supporting growth. All this by contributing new technologies and financing research and innovation. 
  • SOCIETAL CHALLENGES: the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere. These changes must occur from the beginning with sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy. All this with secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens ensuring a society with health and wellbeing.

Energy efficiency and energy management: Tailored approach and roadmap for SMEs and other stakeholders

CEN-CENELEC Center (Brussels), 27th September 2018


The conference was celebrated the last 27 of September in CEN-CENELEC Centre, to provide the vision about what is coming in energy efficiency for 2030 in EU territories.

The plenary started with a policymaker needs presentation giving the different point of view by the various sectors related. First was Serena Pontoglio from European Commission - DG ENER who explain what is coming for 2030 in EU about the new targets en energy efficiency, metering, and controllability from customers and the energy saving for EU. Additionally, she commented that the procedure to asses all of these new targets is in the review process, but a commission methodology will develop it. This methodology plans to include natural gas assets, infrastructure for public building, energy audits and carbon market support. These topics will be generated by a guideline particularly for authorities to be more cost effective at the time to applied energy assets.

The event was continuous with Filipo Gasparin from Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises who talk about the 2020 horizons with the market uptake cost-effective energy efficiency measures with three projects. Enerwater, that support to improve performance for water treatment plants, with this project the customer has to do an own asset of energy efficiency at the results is a reduction in 11% of energy consumption. Capacity building to support the implementation of energy audits, fostering SMEs to undergo energy audits and facilitating the follow-up of energy audit results. Aggregation, a project to will be launch next year, focus on aid public and private promoters.

Later that Rod Janssen from Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions group, explains that a lot of things are not cover in the industrial sector giving a problematic reality for SMEs to take the opportunity to be more competitive, especially for new technologies that it needs to be implemented. Furthermore, there are trying to give reliability with the techniques to a bank sector given an interest payback with the new implementations and give recommendations for commissioning and financial energy addressing low-carbon transition.

In conclusion for SMEs, nowadays this sector is enfolding to develop energy efficiency to promote more cost-effective technologies. Nevertheless, for the budget that it is used in SMEs they have significant challenges to reach energy efficiency at high-level principal for the structure of the industry that has companies to sell very cheap energy without energy efficiency is a high risk for the environment. By the way, is needed to develop a quick review process to give a real opportunity to SMEs owners more competitive and understand that “CO2 reduction is business, not a cost” and “energy efficiency does not just save energy its save money.”

Civil society and municipalities: building sustainability through collaboration


Committee of the Regions (Brussels), 20th September 2018

The conference was organized by ECOLISE and the EESC (European Economic and Social Committee), together with Transition Network and the European Committee of the Regions. Its aim was to discover and to share new ways to support and achieve common objectives through a bottom-up approach, in order to create an equitable, sustainable and low-carbon society.

During the session interesting aspects to develop sustainability projects came up, such as the importance of having a good community willingness to undertake a sustainable path. First of all people should be educated in order to make them understand why it is important for them to develop in a sustainable way. With regard to this idea, some of the attendees asserted it would be much easier to successfully develop a project when the community has got the leadership or when the project is shared between politicians and people.

On the other side, there was who said more pragmatically that who starts a process towards sustainability does not matter and that in social issues context is always important to develop a strategy. It is also worthy to underline that most of the time there is not a defined problem, but a huge amount of different problems which can be fixed in singular and suitable ways. It could be easier to start from easy issues that can be solved through small actions. This would allow people to understand that also small initiatives could improve their environment.

Another interesting point of the conference was that sustainability issues often seem to be raised only at international and national level; they should be brought also to the daily life, the human level, by making people know their actions are necessary and worthy. This would help local government to work for sustainability.

The meeting included also a discussion about what EU can deliver to support Communities and Municipalities. Visnar Malinovská (DG Clima, European Commission) and Rudolf Niessler (DG Smart & Sustainable Growth & Southern Europe, European Commission) highlighted the importance of data, new media and technology to work together in Europe starting from the human level.

Session about plurilingualism and promotion of minority/regional languages

European Committee of the Regions (Brussels), 25th September 2018

On the 25th September a working session about plurilingualism, intercultural understanding and promotion of minority and regional languages took place in the European Committee of the Regions in order to celebrate the European Day of Languages (26 September).

The event was organised by the Government of Navarra in collaboration with the European Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD), the European Language Equality Network and the European Alliance.

During the event Loránt Vincze, President of European Nationalities, underlined interested aspects such as the difficulties minority languages have to access to European Union. The speech given by Mathieu Berge, member of Nouvelle Aquitaine-Euskadi-Navarre Euro region, was also interesting, because he talked about educational projects to develop the use of Basque language in French Basque country, where it is not an official language.

The intervention of Jill Evans, from of the Group of the Greens, member of the European Parliament, also contributed to the debate. He highlighted that the use of minority languages in new media could be a way to promote them and adapt them to a global world in which they could be worthy for matters such as technology and industry.

Finally, Peio Monteano Phd, Royal and General Archive of Navarra, after explaining the origin and development of the Basque language, invited all the attendees to see an exposition about it in which the main old sources of the language were showed.

Cluster meeting for European Policy experimentation projects 2016

Support for policy reform, initiatives for policy innovation 

European Commission (Brussels), 18 th  September 2018

   Under the Project of EACEA 34/2015 ten European policy experimentation projects were selected in the field of education, training and youth. On the 18 September 2018 participants met for the third time to share information about how their projects, which sometimes are shared with partners from others countries, are going, to expose their difficulties and to try to find common solutions.

   In a very interactive meeting, representatives of each project pointed out the importance of being supported from their own Minister of Education in order to achieve the aim pursued in their project. Also, they highlighted that direct involvement of European Commission staff in the projects would be useful in order to have a better point of view of the difficulties a project has to face. For instance, there are some social differences between countries that share a common project.

    Moreover, participants felt it is difficult to develop projects in long term such as educational ones, where it is not so easy to find immediately concrete solutions, as politicians would like. However, they valued the chance to put in common their thinking in order to improve their projects, especially by asking if their projects are good proposals and by showing their willingness to change them.

    After a workshop session in which they tried to answer to questions such as “Why experimentation in education is important?”, “What makes education policy difficult?” or “What are elegant next steps to achieve the change they want to achieve?”, they had the opportunity to ask EACEA staff about specific issues related to their projects. In the last part of the meeting the need for a bridge to close the gap between European education policy and daily teaching was underlined.

    The whole session was moderated by Tatiana Niskacova and Erik Ballhausenand, respectively Head of Sector and Project Adviser of EACEA, Unit A1. Ivar Staffa, Project Officer of DG Education and Culture Unit A1, gave a brief overview of the updates on the latest policy developments. Also Tom Muller, Luxembourger Ministry of Education, Borut Campelj, Slovenian Ministry of Education, and Neli Koleva, member of “Teach for Bulgaria”, participated in the meeting giving a thought about their involvement in some projects that have already been concluded.

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