ECRN President and Director visit Düsseldorf for a meeting with the German regions
The ECRN President Fabrizio Sala (Lombardy) opened ECRN’s new year with his first regional visit. The visit was hosted by the region of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf, where all the German ECRN member regions had the chance to exchange ideas and discuss priorities for 2017. The meeting with the German regions was complemented by an additional meeting between Mr. Sala and the ECRN Vice President Twan Beurskens (Limburg) to discuss key policy issues and other updates.
This regional visit was the first one also for the new Director of the ECRN Secretariat, Renatka Krcova, who outlined the elements of the ECRN action plan for 2017 to the members during the meeting. Visits and meetings in the regions will continue throughout the year, and all ECRN members will come together for the first Permanent Working Group meeting of the year on 1 February 2017 in Brussels.
ECRN views on sustainability presented in 4° Conferenza Chimica Sostenibile (Milan)
The fourth annual conference on sustainable chemistry was organized by Federchimica on 1 December 2016 in Milan. ECRN was represented in the event by Folco Ciulli (Lombardy), who presented ECRN and examples from the European chemical regions on the topic. See the presentations and more information about the event here.
ECRN President meets the Chair of ITRE
ECRN President Fabrizio Sala, ITRE Chair Jerzy Buzek and MEP Massimiliano Salini
On 9 November, ECRN President Fabrizio Sala exchanged views on industrial policy, REACH, and the competitiveness of the European chemical regions with Jerzy Buzek, the chairman of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) in the European Parliament.
President Sala highlighted the ways ECRN can contribute to European policy making, underlining in particular the vast experience, knowledge and innovation capacities embedded in the regional economies. Possibilities for joint events or other future activities were also addressed, as ECRN is keen to actively participate in discussions on chemicals policy and regulation, as well as policy areas such as industrial modernization, SMEs, research, innovation and skills development, energy, and circular economy.
New Director at the ECRN Secretariat in Brussels
As of November 2016, the ECRN Secretariat in Brussels will continue to support chemical regions and regional actors under the leadership of a new Director, Renatka Krcova. She takes over the position from Dr. Hanny Nover, who retires after years of dedication to interregional cooperation and competitiveness of European chemical regions.
The ECRN Executive Board and all ECRN members welcome Ms. Krcova to ECRN and look forward planning future activities together. Renatka Krcova joins ECRN with a long experience of working in the European Parliament and being engaged in EU policy development.
Workshop on Gaseous Industrial Effluents as Non-Fossil Feedstock for Sustainable Chemicals Production
ECRN collaborated with the European Commission (DG GROW) on a workshop on "Gaseous Industrial Effluents as Non-Fossil Feedstock for Sustainable Chemicals Production" on 9 November 2016.
During the workshop, we provided information about different activities in different European Regions on re-using CO2 and other industrial gaseous effluents as a feedstock, and discussed ways to facilitate the energy challenge by providing stored energy at a large scale and offering a solution to inter-seasonal challenges of supply and demand; decrease GHG emissions; boost the resource efficient use of gaseous resources and exchanged views on the different aspects of the related policy framework. Views on a systemic approach to support such activities and new forms of industrial symbiosis using such feedstock for the manufacturing of more sustainable chemicals were also addressed.
The event was hosted by ECRN member Lombardy in their representation in Brussels. For more information, see here.
New President of ECRN
After elections in the ECRN General Assembly on 16 June 2016, the ECRN has a new President: Fabrizio Sala from Lombardy. The meeting was hosted in the the Representation of North Rhine-Westphalia in Brussels and preceded by an Executive Board meeting (16 June) and a Permanent Working Group meeting (15 June). In addition to the change of presidency, the ECRN members elected a new Executive Board, adopted the annual action plan and budget of the network, and discussed other strategic issues and plans for future activities.
Mr. Sala is accompanied in the new ECRN Executive Board by Jörg Felgner (Saxony-Anhalt, ECRN Vice President), Twan Beurskens (Limburg, ECRN Vice President), Daniel Collet (Wallonia, ECRN Treasurer), and Marcin Wajda (Mazovia). The inaugural speech of Mr. Sala, the new ECRN President, is available here.
New plans for 2016 outlined in the Permanent Working Group meeting
ECRN members gathered for a first official meeting in Brussels on 2-3 February 2016. Collaborative strategic planning over the past months has resulted in an action-packed outline for the year to come, with activities on topics such as bioeconomy, smart specialisation and cross-border collaboration across regions and networks.
The expert debate on REACH held in January was the first event to kick off the year and numerous additional initiatives are in the pipeline. The next ECRN meetings will be held in June: a Permanent Working Group on 15 June and Executive Board meeting and the ECRN General Assembly on 16 June in Brussels.
Experts’ Discussion: REACH and procedures for SMEs
On 27 January 2016, ECRN and the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union organized an experts’ discussion on “REACH and procedures for SMEs”.
The speakers included Andreas Herdina, the SME Ambassador from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Dr. Klaus Berend from DG GROW and Dr. Suzanne Wiandt from Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Dortmund - German National Helpdesk REACH. Regional officials and industry/SME representatives participated in the discussion and presented their views.
Herdina from ECHA gave a briefing on the REACH procedures for SMEs and gave examples of support, infocards and advisory services provided on ECHA’s internet platform. There will be also workshops for SMEs for direct feedback. From the Commission’s perspective, Berend emphasized in particular the need to involve SMEs for the REACH process and easing the monetary burdens for SMEs. He aimed especially for the need of fair, transparent and non-discriminatory set of rules in chemical policy. These actions with many others are aiming towards general streamlining of the REACH process together with lowering its costs. On the other hand, Wiandt offered a thorough look on the functions and routine of the German REACH helpdesk. She pointed out the great need for the helpdesk, as it receives around 200 to 300 contacts every month.
Regional and industrial parties emphasized also the great need for the national helpdesks and the possibility to be informed in all the European languages.