Organisation: European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy
Position in the organisation: Deputy Director General for Implementation
Normunds Popens is currently Deputy Director General for Implementation in the Directorate General Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission in charge of overseeing the implementation of structural and cohesion fund programmes in EU member states and candidate countries. Before joining the European Commission in March 2011 he has occupied several posts in the Latvian diplomatic services. Notably from 2007 till 2011 he was a Permanent Representative of Latvia to the EU. Before that he dealt with European affairs as Undersecretary of State of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been also responsible for the issues of foreign trade and transatlantic relations and has worked as an Ambassador in Norway, Iceland and in the USA as a diplomat.
Plenary Session P4 – “Regional Policy and Smart Specialisation”
The regional dimension is key to Europe’s growth agenda and to tackle the re-industrialisation challenges of Europe. That’s why EU Regional Policy has focused on innovation and smart specialisation. Smart specialisation aims at helping regions to fully tap their innovation potential and focus SF investments on economic transformation and micro-economic competitiveness, including business support. Smart specialisation fosters industrial renewal by upgrading manufacturing and helping to translate scientific leadership into industrial advantages.
It promotes synergies between the relevant European funding instruments such as Horizon 2020 and the Structural Funds. And smart specialisation also offers important opportunities for roadmap alignment and the identification of co-investment opportunities, including with European-level PPPs, such as the Technology Platforms.