The opinion of Emil Boc (EPP/RO), Mayor of Cluj Napoca on “Brain drain in the EU: addressing the challenge at all levels” was adopted today at the Inaugural Plenary Session of the European Committee of the Regions.
Though often perceived as a national or supranational policy problem, due to its broad and severe negative effects, brain drain can be addressed successfully at the subnational level. Local and regional public authorities play a crucial role in addressing this issue, since local communities are the ones that are directly affected by the consequences of brain drain: the loss of an educated work force is a huge strategic threat for local communities throughout the Union.
“It is crucial to achieve a balance between two essential principles of the European Union: free movement of labour and economic and social convergence between regions. Citizens and workers must be able to move freely within the EU, but only because they want to and not because they are pushed from their regions by poverty and scarce economic opportunities”, said rapporteur Emil Boc.
The direct experience of local authorities in addressing brain drain can provide success stories and best practices that could be helpful in developing a coherent policy at EU level. Brain drain still also requires action at Member State and European Union level, but the role of national and supranational authorities should be to coordinate and facilitate efforts at the subnational levels and to build consensus between the Member States about how brain drain should be framed and addressed, so as to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
“Cities and regions can increase their attractiveness by promoting policies and instruments to develop local entrepreneurship, self-employment and alternative models of business development. Partnerships between local authorities, businesses and universities are important engines of local growth and development. It is crucial to recognise universities’ and vocational education and training providers’ role in local development within the knowledge-based economy”, concluded the rapporteur.