Four boom regions ally to lobby European Union
23 February 2008
BAD PETERSTAL-GRIESBACH, Germany – Four European regions that see themselves as the economic powerhouses of their nations sealed a pact Friday jointly to lobby the European Union for their interests.
Lombardy in Italy and Catalonia in Spain entered the alliance, along with the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the French region of Rhone-Alpes.
Officials said they would also rent joint stands to boast their exports at major trade fairs in Asia, North America and Africa.
The alliance was founded in the town of Bad Peterstal-Griesbach in Germany. Willi Staechele, a state minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said the alliance would give them more influence at European Union level.
But they would also promote links between their businesses too.
"We regard ourselves as the four engines powering the ship of Europe," he said.
The four regions, which share a total population of 33 million people, say an alliance in this form is unprecedented in the European Union.
Roser Clavell i Soldevila, Catalonia’s state secretary for foreign relations, said she expected them to also act as a unit beyond Europe’s shores.
[Copyright dpa 2008]