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SEDEC members meeting in Brno elect Tanya Hristova as new chair  

Bulgarian Tanya Hristova (BG/EPP) was elected chair of the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) at the commission's external meeting in Brno, Czech Republic, on 3 October. The Mayor of Gabrovo will chair the SEDEC commission work for two and half years, the second half of the Committee's current five-year mandate. In her new role, Ms Hristova will lead the EU regions' and cities' work on a wide range of topics, including employment and social policies, education and training, culture, equality and youth policy, as well as research, innovation and artificial intelligence.

Tanya Hristova, born in 1971, has been the mayor of Gabrovo Municipality since 2011 and leads the Bulgarian delegation at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) where she has been a prominent member since 2012. Ms Hristova already chaired the SEDEC Commission briefly between September 2019 and February 2020. She has also worked as a chief of the political office of Bulgaria's Minister of EU funds between 2010 and 2011.

Speaking after her appointment, Ms Hristova said: "EU's future choices should be taken according to what our citizens demand. This is the main legacy of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and also the spirit of our work in the European Committee of the Regions, and in SEDEC especially. We're committed to engage with cities and regions to help providing answers to the persistent demands for equal opportunities and decent working conditions. To acknowledge the extraordinary enthusiasm of younger generations to build more inclusive and human societies. Place based research, quality education and skills, fertile innovation ecosystems where science meets creativity: these represent some of the key tools we promote in our daily activities in SEDEC. My commitment is to work, hand in hand with regional and local leaders, with partner EU institutions, universities and SMEs, to turn our vision into a great success story."

The new first vice-chair of the SEDEC Commission is Inga Bērziņa (LV/Renew E.), Member of Kuldīga Municipal Council, and the second vice chair Ricardo Rio (PT/EPP), Mayor of Braga.

Ms Hristova already led the proceedings at the external meeting in Brno, where two opinions were discussed. The first one, drafted by Tine Radinja (SI/The Greens), Mayor of Škofja Loka, assesses the future perspectives of EU's Youth Policy. Building on the experiences of the European Year of Youth 2022, it calls for new and comprehensive reflection on youth policy, mainstreaming of youth issues across policy fields and the active participation of youth in building the future of Europe.

Members also adopted Markku Markkula's (FI/EPP, Member of Espoo City Council) opinion on the New Innovation Agenda for Europe. The opinion stresses that the European Commission's ambitious innovation policy targets can be reached by avoiding fragmentation and by orchestrating influential measures through effective collaboration in the cities and regions between industry, academia and regional and local administrations, addressing societal challenges such as climate change, increased resilience and digital transformation.

The two-day meeting continued on Tuesday morning with a conference on Engaging youth in science, research and innovation. In his opening speech, Jiri Nantl, Deputy Governor of the South Moravian Region, underlined that the current crisis requires immediate and short-term solutions, but at the same time "we must not lose our vision and confidence in the following period".

"A number of European regions have strong innovation centres and can find solutions in this area for the near and distant future. The South Moravian Region also has wide possibilities of innovation. A number of them will be introduced to you here during today's conference. This is where our vision and I would say our hope lies. It presents us with new challenges, especially in the field of education", Mr Nantl said.

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