The REGIOSTARS are awarded to projects in five thematic categories (smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, urban development and a topic of the year). In 2021, the REGIOSTARS are focussed on five areas that are crucial part of the EU’s regional policy:
- Smart Europe: Increasing the competitiveness of local businesses in a digital world
- Green Europe: Green and resilient communities in urban and rural setting
- Fair Europe: Fostering inclusion and anti-discrimination
- Urban Europe: Promoting green, sustainable and circular food systems in functional urban areas
- Topic of the year: Enhancing green mobility in the regions (European Year of Rail 2021)
ICCARus applied for the award in the category ‘Green Europe’ because of its innovative way to finance housing renovation of vulnerable home-owners, which is vital in order to reach the goals of the Green Deal. The European Union is acknowledging climate change and environmental degradation as existential threats to Europe and the world. In response, the European Green Deal prepares a sustainable transition. Particularly, Europe needs a new growth strategy for a transformed, resource-efficient and competitive economy, avoiding net emissions of greenhouse gases and decoupling economic growth from resource use, while no person and no place is left behind.
On December 2nd 2021, the online ceremony found place and the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries revealed that the winner of this category, ICCARus!
Dubravka Suica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, explained why the jurors chose ICCARus as winner of this category: “The project demonstrates a promising and clever use of a financial instrument in relation to captive low-income home-owners. Urban areas are in high need of policy instruments for implementing energy efficiency measures. It is important to reach all urban residents, especially those with limited financial possibilities. […] In addition, it is easy transferable both to other places, including to less developed regions and other sectors.”
The project manager Derkien De Baets from the City of Ghent shared her joy by concluding: “The project uses an innovative recurring fund based on the principle of subsidy retention for the renovations. Unlike traditional grants, no pre-financing is expected. This allows families with limited financial resources to improve their living situation.”