On 17th June 2021, took place the webinar “From the transition phase to the future regional policies in the agri-food sector: the contribution of the Interreg Europe projects”, organized by the DG Agriculture of the Emilia-Romagna Region, with the presence of qualified speakers and the participation of an enlarged audience of stakeholders representing the world of agriculture, training, research, institutions and agro-industry.

Mario Montanari, former head of Department for the Innovation, Quality, Promotion, and Internationalization of Agrofood System of Emilia-Romagna Region, gave an overview of the routes of the Interreg projects FoodChains 4 EU and STRING, and their influence on regional agricultural policies and in particular their impact on the call RDP Measure 16 focus area 3a.

Andrea Porcelluzzi, on behalf of Centre Research Animal Production, showed the final analysis of the STRING project, which will end on June 30th, with a focus on innovation ecosystems in the agro-food sector, highlighting how high levels of education and significant investments in R&D are important for creating human capital in agriculture and in the food industry, capable to stimulate innovation and competitiveness on international markets.

Professor Gabriele Canali, University Cattolica of Piacenza, started from the motivation that led to the partnership between Emilia-Romagna Region and University of Piacenza and their joining the project FoodChains 4 EU. Mr Canali then continued with presenting the crucial phases of the project – Peer Reviews, Action Plan - highlighting the benefits of the project, direct and indirect, on the employees involved in the Region and University and on the stakeholders of the territory. Then he illustrated the results of the project, from the most concrete such as the influence on the call RDP Measure 16 focus area 3a and the greater collaboration between the Managing Authorities of the funds, up to the less tangible but no less important.

It was therefore time for a focus on innovation on agri-food packaging, the main theme of Emilia Romagna contributions to FoodChains 4 EU. Prof. Riccardo Manzini, Food Supply Chain Center - Industrial Engineering Department - University of Bologna, presented "Comparative and competitive analysis of alternative packaging in the fruit and vegetable supply chain. Measurement of the environmental impact in the life cycle of collapsible crates".

The presence of both Managing Authorities of the RDP-EAFRD and ROP-ERDF funds was an opportunity to take stock of their implementation and of the main changes foreseen in the transition phase 2021-23.

In particularly, Valtiero Mazzotti, Head of DG for Agriculture, Hunting and Fisheries, illustrated the road to the future CAP (Common Agriculture Policy), highlighting the rules already adopted and those still to be adopted to arrive at defining the regulatory and financial framework for the programming period 2023-2027, which will fit into the European New Green Deal.

Daniela Ferrara, Responsible for ROP-ERDF and ESF - DG Economics of Knowledge, Labour and Business spoke about next ERDF and ESF programming, with a focus on the Smart Specialization Strategy and the future possibilities of a deeper integration between ERDF, EARDF and ESF funds.

Space was therefore left for stakeholders, who expressed appreciation for the results of the Interreg projects and requested clarifications and insights from the speakers on future agro-industrial policies and on the regulatory and financial framework which is taking shape at European and national level.

On the agriculture web portal of the Emilia-Romagna Region, ample space was given to the event and the registration and presentations were made available.