Samara. "When people heard we were holding our Bureau meeting in Samara, Russia, some asked us: why is the Assembly of European Regions going so far?" smiled Riccardo Illy, President of the AER and President of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia-I. "Our answer is simple. This is the role of the AER: to be the link between all European Regions, in particular those which are at the borders of Europe and lesser known. This is exactly the reason why the AER should go to all its member regions. Our mission is to place regions in the spotlight and to showcase their capacities and potential, in particular if they are as dynamic and successful as Samara."
AER President Illy met with Konstantin Titov, Governor of the Regional Government of Samara. Together, they discussed the stunning economic development of Samara and the ongoing cooperation with the AER. Samara accounts for 2.2% of the Russian population and contributes 2.4% of the GDP. "Samara's potential is impressive: it is already a net contributor to the budget of the Russian Federal State. In the context of the European Union, this would place Samara on a footing equivalent to that of states such as Sweden or the UK, who are also net contributors to the EU budget," stated AER President Illy. With highly developed and specialised industry (including automobiles 75% of all Russian cars are produced here - jet engines, aviation, chemical, aeronautic all Russian satellites and missiles are produced in Samara, space stations) and 14 universities, Samara has a high innovation potential. Presidents Titov and Illy discussed further cooperation with other regions, universities and enterprises in order to further stimulate Samara's development.
"The cooperation initiatives of the AER and its member regions are also a political tool which, in the context of Russia, can contribute to strengthening democracy and can facilitate European integration. This is why we will pursue our collaboration with Samara and our other Russian member regions, and we hope that many others will join the AER family soon, both to boost economic development in Russia and to guarantee stability" concluded President Illy.
The AER political Bureau approved the 2007-2012 strategic plan that reorganises the AER structures and puts a stronger emphasis on economic issues. The strategy will be adopted by the General Assembly, taking place on 9th-10th November 2006 in Illes Balears-E.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the political organisation of the regions in Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is to defend the regions' interests in the political process and develop interregional cooperation. AER brings together 255 Regions from 30 European Countries and 14 interregional organisations www.a-e-r.org
AER Contacts: Klaus Klipp, Secretary General or Francine Huhardeaux, Press and Communications - email@example.com - Tel: +33-3-88 22 74 49