SERN is the result of a process that has unfolded between 2003 and 2005.

Conference Town Twinning Sweden Emilia-Romagna – March 2003 in Bertinoro

The Conference Town Twinning Sweden Emilia-Romagna was organised in the spring of 2003 by a pool of municipalities (Bertinoro Municipality, Ravenna Municipality, Brisighella Municipality, Faenza Municipality, Cesena Municipality, Cervia Municipality and Cesenatico Municipality) together with AICCRE Emilia-Romagna and had as an objective the launch of a wide process of cooperation among local authorities (and not only) of the two areas. At the TTSER Conference more than 120 representatives of local authorities, schools, no-profit organisations and economic actors took part coming from many parts in Sweden.

TTSER 2003: The themes discussed during the sessions were: town twinnings, economic partnerships, cultural exchanges and exchanges on welfare policies.
At the end of the conference it was decided to organise a follow-up conference in Sweden during 2004 and it was agreed to set up two “contact groups”, one in Emilia-Romagna chaired by AICCRE and one in Sweden chaired by Norrbotten.

Contact Group (spring 2003 – summer 2004)

The two contact groups have had the task to grant continuity to the whole process between the two conferences and work as point of reference for those actors, in particular municipalities, interested in participating in the process.
Furthermore, the two groups have had the task to identify the phases through which achieving the formal creation of the network. In order to address the issue a meeting was arranged between the two contact groups in the spring of 2004 in Stockholm. From the meeting emerged a joint proposal for a statute and four areas on which to concentrate the activities of the network were identified and it was decided to set up four working groups.

Conference Active European Citizenship – June 2004

The Conference Active European Citizenship was organised in Luleå in June 2004 by the counties of Norrbotten and Stockholm in cooperation with the Region Västra Götaland, in partnership with NUTEK and The Swedish Association of Municipalities and County Councils.
The Conference saw the participation of more than 80 Italian local authorities and a number of private actors coming from all over the region. The Conference objective was twofold. On the one hand the aim was to deepen the mutual knowledge in a number of (local) policy areas while on the other hand, the objective was to launch the constitutive process of the SERN Network.
During the conference the themes discussed were the following:

  • European Citizenship: the importance of partnerships and town twinnings
  • Lifelong learning: a systematic exchange of experiences aimed at concrete results
  • A global perspective on environmental issues: from climate to health
  • Culture and integration: creating synergies from diversity
  • New European entrepreneurship: collaboration turning weaknesses in advantages
  • New technologies and their application in the field of governance

In the framework of the conference the four working groups (environment, social economy, culture and education and entrepreneurship) have gathered for the first time and identified a number of themes which could be developed further.
In the final session 35 local authorities were willing to participate in the constitutive process of SERN and signed a letter of intents.

Constitutive Phase (October 2004 – January 2005)

Following the approval of the statute by the 22 representatives (11 Italian rep. and 11 Swedish rep.), they were elected as members of the Interim Executive Board by those institutions which have signed the letter of intents. The constitutive phase of the SERN network ended in January 2005 with the formal beginning of the activities of the Network.
The first meeting of the Interim Executive Board took place on October 8th and 9th 2004. Together with the approval of the statute and the structure of the network the Board elected a Chair (Mr. Kent Ögren, County Council of Norrbotten) and a Vice Chair (Ms. Silvia Bartolini, AICCRE Emilia-Romagna).

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