European Week of Regions and Cities 2021 Side Event - Cohesion Policy 2021-2027: Creating conditions for success 

The event will feature Mayor of Gabrovo Municipality and CoR member, Ms. Tanya Hristova, who will talk about the priorities of the old and new Cohesion Policies related to SME growth. In addition, two Interreg projects funded by the ERDF through the Cohesion Policy (2014-2020) will be presented (SCALE UP and DEVISE). Project representatives will connect their projects to the priorities of the old policy and voice their opinions on how the new policy can continue to support the scaling up and internationalisation of SMEs while recovering from the pandemic.

SMEs have been recognized and described as important actors the EU can empower to help regions recover from the pandemic. This recognition is evident in the mentions about SMEs in the budget and recovery plan the EU has drafted for the next programming period. The event will begin with a short poll asking keywords from the audience about the previous Cohesion Policy priorities. The event will then delve into the Cohesion Policy together with a CoR member who can give the audience a better understanding of the differences between the priorities of the previous and current Cohesion Policies along with its possible implications to SME development in general.

After analyzing the old and new Cohesion Policies, the audience will be informed on how projects that were funded by the previous ERDF period are helping SMEs in their regions develop with the added dimension of analyzing and relating how the new Cohesion Policy can continue to support the scaling up of SMEs.

More concretely, the audience will be presented with several good practices that help SMEs to scale up. These examples will be used as a starting point to better address the recovery and growth of SMEs in the upcoming 7 years while ensuring that the policy objectives of the new Cohesion Policy are met. Throughout the entire session, audience participation will be encouraged and questions that provoke opinion from speakers and audience will be formulated to ensure a dynamic conversation.


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