On Monday 5 December 2016, the research and innovation department of the EU Commission organized a regional event in Brussels: “Horizon 2020: Europe as a Global Actor”, hosted with the collaboration of the Open Innovation and Open Science and Open and inclusive Societies units. The main objective of the conference was to present the projects funded during 2015 under the H2020 programme.

After the welcome speech of Elisabeth LIPIATOU, Head of Unit Open and Inclusive Societies (DG RTD), the first panel started with the remark of Elisabeth TISON (Senior Advisor, EEAS, Strategic planning), who underscored the importance to enhance R&I cooperation and the need to establish more links between different projects for the implementation of a global strategy. Helene SJURSEN (ARENA University of Oslo) presented the GLOBUS project, that aims at reconsider European Contributions to Global Justice.

Beate SJAFJELL  of the University of Oslo described the SMART project “Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade” and emphasized the importance of sustainability during the innovation and development processes. Morten BOAS (Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt, NUPI) presented the EUNPACK project, that aims at closing the gap between mechanisms and ambitions by using a conflict-sensitive unpacking of the EU comprehensive approach to crisis response mechanisms.

The first panel was completed by the presentation of the EL-CSID project, which focuses on the understanding of societal changes and on the worldwide attention for the science diplomacy. The Global science diplomacy, as they said, should be used as a tool for the Global governance.

The second panel was opened by Manfredo FANTI (Head of Unit EEAS Latin America and the Caribbean), who underscored the importance of cooperation in a most pragmatic way. He analysed the cooperation between EU and Latin America, stressing the different opportunities of cooperation such as the Horizon 2020 projects, the Erasmus plus and the others projects directly involving the Latin America’s regions.

Karen BROWN (The University court of the University of St. Andrews, UK) and Karin WEIL (University of Austral, Chile) presented the project EU-LAC-MUSEUMS, based on a bi-regional approach for the integration of youth exchange. They emphasized the importance of blogs and communities as tools of exploration, dissemination and exploitation of the personal heritage to share knowledge and empower the youth’ impact on policy.

Ramon TORRENT (University of Barcelona) concluded the second panel with the presentation of the EULAC Focus project. He underlined the necessity to adapt a pragmatic approach instead of focusing just on the political dialogue.

The third panel “Setting the scene: EU neighbourhood and enlargement” was opened by Allan JONAS (Head of Unit DG NEAR, Unit Strategy, Policy, Planning; EEA/EFTA) who evidenced the importance to increase the cooperation society and enlarge the collaboration policy. Daniela HUBER (Institute of Intl. Relations; IAI) presented MedReset and their comprehensive, integrated and bottom-up approach to reset the understanding of the Mediterranean space, remap the region, and reconstruct flexible EU policies.

Eduard SOLER (Centre for international information and documentation in Barcelona; CIDOB), coordinator of the MENARA project, highlighted the multilevel impact generated by the domestic level on the regional and by the regional level on the global. Only a full understanding of the scenario allows to generate a strategic thinking about the region. Esther ADEMMER (Free University of Berlin) presented the EU-STRAT project, based on a multilevel collaboration between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Countries.

Funda TEKIN and Hanna-Lisa HAUGE (University of Cologne) introduced the last panel of the event by presenting the FEUTURE project, which aims to map the dynamics of EU-Turkey relations to focus on conflict, cooperation and convergence issues. Eventually, the event was concluded by the presentation of INFORM project, which aims to close the gap between formal and informal institutions in the Balkan countries.

A wide array of different EU funded projects for a very interesting event which emphasized the importance of cooperation and collaboration between the EU member States and the neighbourhood countries, at various levels and with different approaches and strategies.