Rorschach (CH), 26 August 2010.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) organised, for the first time in cooperation with two regions namely the Swiss Cantons of St.Gallen and Thurgau, its 15th Summer School and 9th Youth Summer School. For five days, regional decision makers, experts and young people gathered to find out how to improve mobility in Europe while at the same time reducing congestion, accidents and pollution.
Peter Straub, AER Vice-President and President of the Baden-Württemberg Landtag declared: “The issue of mobility is essential for the improvement of our citizens’ quality of life. In fact, the International Energy Agency predicts that CO2 emissions coming from transport will double globally by 2050. The transport sector is today one of the biggest cause of climate change and regions, confronted with this challenge, must not stand still.”
The Summer Schools demonstrated that actions taken by regions and local authorities could significantly contribute to develop efficient and effective transport methods while also achieving their social and environmental goals especially in terms of climate change and leading to energy savings. Good practices and concrete projects were put forward such as the successful reorganization of the transport system in the rural areas of Flevoland (NL): with faster connections between towns and villages trade is flourishing in the rural parts of this Dutch region. The defence of mobility without barriers in urban spaces as implemented in Olomouc (CZ) was also presented.
Creating the right framework for combined mobility is an important element in ensuring that mobility in general continues to develop in a sustainable way. “If the framework conditions for combined mobility are to be improved, transport and spatial development must be coordinated and all stakeholders must be included in the process, particularly the regions. A special focus must be given to cross-border cooperation such as the AlpTransit Project” said Prof. Doctor Ulrich Weidmann, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (CH).
Young Regional Voice
Through the AER Youth Regional Network (YRN), many young people also participated in the debate. All the participants in the AER Youth Summer School 2010 had been nominated by their home regions to become Youth Ambassadors for the defence of an innovative, efficient and clean interregional mobility. “A Youth Ambassador is a young person responsible for getting other young people in their region interested in regional and European cooperation. Through this tool, young people will continue to be involved in the public debate for instance on the topic of mobility this year and can propose solutions” explained Olov Oskarsson, President of the YRN, from Jämtland (S) region.
The AER Summer Schools are held every year to facilitate the exchange of experience and good practice between regions on issues of common interest. They also give a chance to young people to make a positive contribution to regional policies. “We are proud to be the first two regions to jointly organise the AER summer schools. The topic of this year couldn’t be more appropriate due to the enormous efforts that St.Gallen and Thurgau have made in the last years to improve their mobility policy. In fact, during this last days we give a real example of mobility at all levels: for instance, all the participants used for free Thurgau and St.Gallen transports (bus and train).” jointly declared Josef Keller, Government minister of St. Gallen (CH) and Jakob Stark, President of the Government of Thurgau (CH).
The presentations will be available soon at:
The Assembly of European Regions (AER – aer.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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