The Citizens’ Dialogue in Cluj-Napoca was the first of its type organised in the eve of the Conference of the Future of Europe (planned to be launched on Europe Day, 9 May 2020).
The debate focused on innovation and research, education and youth, with the future Horizon Europe programme is an anchor for discussions. The dialogue also took place back-to-back with the StartUp Youth Innovation Camp in Cluj-Napoca, thus providing the perfect opportunity for a reality check on the ground. Around 130 participants debated lively with mayor Emil Boc and Commissioner Gabriel on the spot and questions were also asked online.
Commissioner Gabriel said Horizon Europe is to be the biggest and most ambitious EU Research Innovation programme ever to give Europe a new push to a global positioning. It will offer stronger support to breakthrough innovation through the European Innovation Council and it will create greater impact through R&I missions and by streamlining the partnerships landscape.
Mayor Boc pleaded to invest in local and regional innovation eco-system to effectively address the challenge of Brain Drain by turning it into Brain Gain. Through building synergies with Cohesion Policy, the Horizon Programme can hugely help by going more local and collaborating more effectively with cities and regions. Cluj-Napoca stands ready to act as pilot region for upcoming Digital Innovation Hubs and the European Innovation Council networking projects in Romania.