Published on 25/11/2021
Birmingham (L) and the Basque Country (R)
  • Fostering inclusive growth to ‘level up’ the UK: Lessons from the Basque Country will be chaired by Aston Centre for Europe’s Dr Caroline Gray
  • The event will take lessons from the Basque Country, renowned for its inclusive economic transformation, and share best practice
  • Speakers will look at how that might be relevant to the UK’s ‘levelling up’ and inclusive growth agenda.

Aston University is set to host an online panel event around the UK’s ‘levelling up’ agenda aimed at drawing comparison – and potential lessons – from the Basque Country in northern Spain, a region renowned for its inclusive economic transformation.

Fostering inclusive growth to ‘level up’ the UK: Lessons from the Basque Country will be chaired by Aston Centre for Europe’s Dr Caroline Gray alongside the Foreign Policy Centre.

The event will take place online on Monday 29 November at 5.00-6.30pm (GMT).

As a once heavily industrialised region that was ravaged by the economic crisis of the 1970s, the Basque Country developed a new economic model based on competitiveness and solidarity over subsequent decades, thanks to which it features among the leading regions in Europe in terms of GDP per capita and has among the lowest rates of poverty and social exclusion.

Since the turn of the century, a variety of stakeholders – both public and private – have worked to continually update and revisit the region’s strategy for inclusive economic development.

The speakers, who will provide insights into the Basque case and some of the challenges from the UK and particularly the West Midlands perspectives before a Q&A, are:

  • Dr Edurne Magro, Senior Researcher at Orkestra, Basque Institute of Competitiveness
  • Bill Murray OBE, Adviser, Global Counsel; Former Head of Economics and Public Policy at the British Embassy in Spain
  • Dr Igor Calzada, Senior Researcher, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), Cardiff University; Urban Transformations ESRC & Future of Cities Programme, University of Oxford; UN-Habitat - Digital Transformation in Urban Areas
  • Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Director of Economic Strategy, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

The event will also offer the opportunity to consider what scope there is to deepen collaboration between prosperous regions in Europe such as the Basque Country and regions of the UK to address today’s economic challenges.

Dr Caroline Gray, a lecturer in politics and international relations at Aston University, said:

“Fostering inclusive growth in order to ‘level up’ prosperity across the UK and reduce regional inequality has become an important policy agenda for the UK Government.

“There remain many questions, however, regarding how exactly this can be achieved. This Aston Centre for Europe and Foreign Policy Centre event seeks to extract lessons from the Basque Country, a region in northern Spain renowned for its inclusive economic transformation, and to share best practice.

“Understanding these dimensions in a well-developed regional success story such as the Basque Country has the potential to offer important lessons for the range of regional and local stakeholders in the UK who are being invited to play an active role in designing and implementing a ‘levelling up’ strategy.”

You can sign up for the event HERE.

Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521
    s.p.smith@aston.ac.uk

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065
    s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159
    r.hume@aston.ac.uk

Alternatively, email pr@aston.ac.uk

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