2017 is a year of anniversaries in Europe. Almost arithmetic, we celebrate 15, 30 and 60 years. Of what? 15 years ago we began to use the euro as a single currency. In 2002 were 12 countries, but now moves to 19 States, with nearly 340 million inhabitants and is the second most used currency in the world. 30 years ago we launched what is perhaps the most successful and well known program of the European Union, Erasmus, which already have benefited nearly five million young Europeans. But the most significant anniversary is the 60 years of the Treaty of Rome, the official kick-off of the current European Union.

Signature ot the Treaty of Rome on 25th March 1957 / AP

On 25 March 1957 Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany signed the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and which have given rise to the current European Union. 

The heads of State and Government of the EU will meet tomorrow in Rome, where he will adopt a Declaration on the occasion of the anniversary. There will be also the presidents of the three institutions: Antonio Tajani, of the European Parliament; Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission; and Donald Tusk, of the Council of the EU.

 

 

 

 


Last European Seminar at the Catalan Parliament

The Catalan Council of the European Movement (CCME) held its annual general meeting yesterday, which served to renew Xavier Ferrer as President and Joaquim Millán as General Secretary. The role of the City Council of Terrassa is still important, as the representative of the municipalities in the Executive Committee.
The CCME is a plural and independent association formed by groups and people who develop activities in Catalonia to improve the idea of Europe. It is composed of a broad representation of the Catalan society: political parties, businesses and trade unions, municipalities, universities, economic, professional and academic associations that wants to be the reflection of the professional plurality, ideological and political of civil society in Europe. It’s a member of the international European Movement, created in 1948.

The CCME has organized many activities with the City Concil of Terrassa, like a concert, a conference about cultural traditions in the EU and many others. The CCME also gave an european award (Diploma d’Europa) to the public main library of Terrassa (Biblioteca Central de Terrassa).


Carmen Aalbers with Pere Montaña and Ton Estapé

Terrassa, with its urban system, is one of the eleven european cities that participate in the project SPIMA: an ambitious study that aims to analyze the features of each territory with regard to the planning strategic and management of themes cross in all the area. A few days ago, a researcher from the University of Wageningen (Netherlands), Carmen Aalbers, visited Terrassa to start the second phase of the project with five interviews with different actors who were able to make their contributions in their idea of metropolitan area from different perspectives and themes. The dutch university is giving shape to a study that seeks to identify the policies that allow better territorial cohesion and see what are the possibilities of each territory, with a vertical or horizontal dimension, and also taking into account the uniqueness of a territory very close to a big city like Barcelona.
The five interviews were with Mr. Pere Montaña (specialized in planning and urban development); Mr. Manuel Pérez (educational and social); Mrs. Dolors Puig (university and knowledge); Mr. Ignasi Cusidó (business) and Mr. Ignasi Giménez (politician). Mr. Ton Estapé, chief of the planning urban of the city of Terrassa was also during the interviews.
The Urban System of Terrassa includes Sant Cugat del Vallès, Rubí, Sant Quirze del Vallès, Vacarisses, Viladecavalls, Castellbisbal, Matadepera, Ullastrell, Rellinars i Sant Llorenç Savall, in an area of 348 km2. Other European cities participating in the project SPIMA are: Prague, Vienna, Lille, Brno, Turin, Lyon, Brussels, Zurich, Oslo and Akhersus.


At the end of March, the European Commission will host the start of the third edition of the European Capital of Innovation award, to choose the city that will be with Barcelona (2014) and Amsterdam (2016) in this exclusive ranking. This year, the new Innovation Capital will receive a prize of 1 million euros to expand its activities in this field, while the second and third classified will receive € 100,000 each. Registration can be submitted until 21 June 2017. The contest is open to cities of the EU member states or countries associated with the program of research and innovation in the EU Horizon 2020, and with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

The Terrassa City Council, this 2017, has organized the first edition of the Muncunill Innovation Awards, initiative with the aim of bringing innovation to the public, as well as recognize the work of those individuals, organizations or companies that have committed to innovation as a model for this comprehensive and applicable to our everyday life. In the first edition of the award by the European Commission, Terrassa was one of the 58 cities of the continent candidates. 

Link to the European Comission prize


“The TTIP, in fact, does not exist, because we are still working on it”. This is how the European Commission’s head of communications in Barcelona, ​​Mark Jeffery, began his presentation in Terrassa on a debate on the free trade agreement negotiated by the European Union and the United States since 2013. The event was organized by the Terrassa City Council through the services of European Relations and Economic Development, collecting a motion for a resolution submitted to plenary by the municipal groups TeC, ERC-MES and CUP so that citizens have more elements to understand such a complicated subject. The Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Industry and Employment, Miquel Sàmper stressed the need to “explain the current state of the issue and its possible future development”.
    The Vapor Universitari hosted the conference-debate, which served to put on the table points for and against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Jeffery defended that “without exports the crisis would be even worse. If we are coming out of the crisis it is because we export”. He also said that 30 million jobs in the European Union depend on this international trade. According to Jeffery, of English origin but settled in Catalonia for years, “we must respect the differences but promote the trade” and explained that the efforts in the negotiations are to improve issues such as sustainability (with environmental standards that are collecting), protecting investments or avoiding unfair competition. For this reason, he believes that some bureaucratic and direct obstacles must be eliminated, but “maintaining quality standards”.
A second part of the act was the debate that was established between the attendees and Jeffery. One of the doubts that emerged in the conversation was the lack of transparency in the process, especially from the United States, and the risk that multinationals will benefit more than SMEs at all. Jeffery pointed out that small companies will also be able to benefit from the TTIP, because “they will know where to find the tenders”, in addition to indicating that “in the USA there is also a strong presence of SMEs, so they are also interested in having a specific capital for their participation “.
Jeffery explained that, about the TTIP, “in the end, it will be a political decision”, but he put on the table what he believes are the alternatives: The first, “do nothing”, but he believes that there will continue to be obstacles “as tariffs, bureaucracy and barriers to new regulations,” while in many areas of the world “there are already bilateral agreements that make us less competitive from Europe.” The second is to maintain 28 national trade policies (one for each Member State), but detailed that, in fact, the European Commission can make proposals which, in the end, must be democratically endorsed by 28. Other alternatives would be a European trade policy and even a world one. 
The Deputy Mayor for Culture, Innovation and Projection of the City, Amadeu Aguado, closed the act indicating the need to have forums like this to “give an overview of the current state of the treaty, being negotiated for four years and with an end is still uncertain “. Aguado explained that, as a municipal group, the PSC “is against TTIP”, although he also pointed out that some of the doubts generated at the beginning are indeed being debated and incorporated into the negotiations, as the possibility that SMEs can remain competitive. The Deputy Mayor explained issues that still need to be improved, such as those relating to current intelligent ownership, the circulation of GMOs or the opening up of public sectors to private companies.

See the new in Canal Terrassa


What was the main objective when the European Union was born? Many people think that it was a purely commercial reason, but it really was “to promote peace” in a continent convulsed by two world wars. This argument was yesterday explained by the professor of International Law and EU Adrià Calvet, in a speech in English, aimed at students from Secondary School in the school El Cim at the Vapor Universitari in Terrassa. It was attended by 90 people, including students and teachers, with more than 30 of them from schools in Germany, Romania and Scotland, because El Cim is participating in a European project called The voice of young Europe within the Erasmus +. This project aims to make young people think about wich Europe we want for their future and their role in democratic participation. The school contacted the service of European and International Affairs of the City Council for organizing this conference, titled EU citizenship: Do you feel European? Rights and benefits of living in the EU. Before his speech, the City Councillor for European and International Affairs, Amadeu Aguado, said that “we are at a moment of great importance for the European Union and the states and citizens who live in” at a time with significant threats as “populism and escalating regression of the concept of democracy.” The principal of El Cim, Sílvia Samaniego also stressed the commitment of a European school (which also participated in European Comenius and offers intensive english courses in Ireland and England) and the fact that the council “opened us his doors when we did the proposal.”
Calvet gave an overview of the history of the European Union, with special emphasis in the original objectives that had to do with “promoting peace, freedom, security and justice, internal market and union monetary and economic” and the values ​​like “freedom, human rights and human dignity” although what happens with the refugee situation nowadays. The professor of the Rovira i Virgili explained to the students how the union was born with just six states and how gradually grew to 9, 10, 12 (1986, when was joined by Spain) and even 28 today, but with the possibility to become 27 with the British Brexit.
Calvet highlighted the vocation of union, with huge and small countries together. The feeling of being European, he added, perhaps is not yet fully established, but considers significant that there are parts of the world where someone will direct you as saying that you are “European”. To strength the power of the EU, Calvet said that “more than half of the world’s humanitarian aid comes from the European Union,” while 24% is in the US and 8% in Japan.
Calvet highlighted its European feeling because “I have traveled, I’ve been a volunteer, I have studied and worked across Europe thanks to treaties mobility. I am, therefore, son of the Union”.
At the end of his speech, the students could ask him several questions about issues such as, among others, multilingualism, Europe’s relationship with Russia, the role of Donald Trump, and a possible future enlargement of the EU.

Link to Canal Terrassa (local TV): Canal Terrassa TV news


The city of Terrassa, Catalonia, has installed citywide 920 large smart rubbish-bins, to obtain real data about the routes the rubbish collection lorries are taking and the frequency of the pick-up for the different kind of bins.

The system works with a sensor installed in the arm of the lorry that reads the electronic label on the bin that is going to be emptied. Then, the lorry sends its GPS data and bin id to Terrassa’s Sentilo platform, which provides these data to management applications. The information will also be published in the City Hall web, so every citizen will be able to know when their nearest bins have been emptied.

More information: http://blogs.terrassa.cat/smarterrassa/?p=1708

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Together with the cities of Oslo, Prague, Brno, Lyon, Zurich, Lille, Brussels, Vienna and Turin, the City of Terrassa will be involved in the SPIMA (Spatial Dynamics and Strategic Planning in Metropolitan Areas) project of ESPON.

ESPON (the European Observation Network for territorial development and cohesion) is a comprehensive spatial observation network which develops comparative studies and scenarios about spatial development dynamics. Building on the many years of research carried out by the EUROCITIES Metropolitan Areas Working Group, ESPON and the project partners will collect and analyse data. The main issue to research is how spatial development works on a metropolitan level.

esponimage


The “Plaque of Honour” will be delivered to Terrassa the 10th November at 19:00  by Mr. Jordi Xuclà, parliamentarian of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Mr. Xavier Ferrer, president of the Catalan Council of the European Movement, will also give a speech on the European trajectory of Terrassa.

The event will include the delivery of scholarships and educative projects, with a speech by an ex-Erasmus student and a short concert at the end by some students from the Conservatory of the city.

The event will be opened to all the citizens.

See you there!

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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe  awarded Terrassa a new prize in recognition of the work done in favour of European integration and promotion of the European ideal: “The Plaque of Honour” 2015. Terrassa had already won “The European Diploma” in 2009 and “The Flag of Honour” in 2010.


The City of Terrassa and the Catalan Audiovisual Park have been selected from among 150 European cities and regions to participate in a European project, “Culture for cities and regions”, led by EUROCITIES network in cooperation with KEA European Affairs and ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network).

“Culture for Cities and Regions” is a project of the European Commission with the aim of highlighting the actions and strategies aimed at developing the local and regional attractiveness in terms of quality and cultural activity. This project is based on the successful experiences conducted throughout Europe to serve as a reference and learning for future projects in other cities and regions. With a budget of 1 million €, this project has started in 2015 and will end in 2017. It focuses on three areas, one of them  is the cultural and creative industries for local economic development and urban regeneration. The Catalan Audiovisual Park has been selected as a good practice at European level in this area and joined an online catalogue: http://nws.eurocities.eu/MediaShell/media/Terrassa_PAC_30062015.pdf

More information: http://www.cultureforcitiesandregions.eu/

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