EU CYCLE Project Final Conference: Tales from European regions that are stepping up

On 27 April 2023, the EUCYCLE partners organised in Brussels the eagerly anticipated EU CYCLE Project Final Conference. Uniting partners from Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Germany, the event marked the culmination of the project which has promoted cycling for development, growth and quality of life in European regions since August 2019.

With a focus on interregional learning and regional action planning, the EU CYCLE project has aimed to improve policy instruments for cycling investments and foster cycling as a catalyst for positive change. As participants gathered in Brussels, the conference shed a light on the experiences of diverse European regions, explored the caveats of EU support for cycling investments and delved into the manifold benefits cycling offers in combatting climate change and improving public health.

The final conference of the EU CYCLE project served as a platform for stakeholders, policymakers, cycling advocates and experts to come together and engage in meaningful discussions. Participants had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of European regions that had successfully harnessed cycling as a tool for development, growth and improved quality of life. These interactive sessions provided invaluable insights into the challenges faced, solutions implemented and the positive impact of cycling on communities.

Amongst the speakers were ECF Policy Officer Aleksander Buczyński, who gave a presentation on regional cycling networks; Director for Strategy at the West Pannon Nonprofit Ltd. Tibor Polgár, who broke down how the EU CYCLE project has impacted cycling in the West Pannon region; Anna Augustyn of the Association of the Białystok Functional Area, who shared about the development of cycling in the Białystok functional area in Poland; EU CYCLE Project Manager Raffaele Sforza, who spoke about improving cycling policies in the Puglia Region in Italy; and Sina Hoch, Project Coordinator for Interreg Europe Projects at Euregio Rhine-Waal, who presented the work behind the implementation of EU CYCLE Action Plan in the region.

Also present was Tars Vermorgen, Project Leader in the mobility department of Antwerp, who presented various good practices from the province and Regional Cycling Officer Wanda Nowotarska, who gave fantastic insight on using EU support for cycling investments to help build a regional cycle route network in the West Pomerania Region in Poland.

One of the key highlights of the Final Conference was an in-depth exploration of the European Union's commitment to supporting cycling investments. This included presentations from ECF Director for Advocacy and EU Affairs Fabian Küster, who spoke about EU investments and the various ways in which the EU supports cycling; Rūta Ročāne, Finance Officer at Interreg Europe Secretariat, who gave an overview of Interreg Europe’s plans for a low carbon economy and what to expect in the financial period 2021-2027; and Jeroen van Oel of the European Commission’s DG REGIO, who laid out the investment opportunities for cycling as part of the EU Cohesion Policy. Conference attendees gained a comprehensive understanding of EU funding opportunities, policy frameworks and strategies designed to promote cycling infrastructure, education and awareness. By elucidating the various avenues of support available, the conference aimed to inspire greater collaboration and foster the development of sustainable cycling networks across Europe.

The EU CYCLE Final Conference served as a beacon of inspiration, demonstrating the transformative power of cycling in creating greener and healthier communities. By showcasing successful case studies and innovative projects, participants gained a deeper appreciation for the potential of cycling to drive positive change. The conference also addressed the importance of active mobility in achieving ambitious climate goals, reducing congestion, and enhancing public health and well-being.

The Final Conference offered a unique opportunity for attendees to establish new connections, exchange knowledge, and forge collaborative partnerships. With a diverse range of stakeholders from different European regions, participants had the chance to engage in fruitful discussions, explore potential joint initiatives and strengthen the network of cycling enthusiasts, policymakers, and experts across Europe.

The EU CYCLE Project Final Conference stood as a testament to the commitment of European regions in harnessing the power of cycling for development, growth and the improvement of quality of life. The gathering of like-minded individuals and organisations in Brussels provided a vibrant platform for sharing experiences, learning from successful initiatives and exploring the vast potential of cycling investments.

The presentations of the speakers can be consulted here

The pictures from the event can be seen here