Many European Regions have long traditions and culture of crafts. The crafts sector contributes to the region’s uniqueness and appeal to visitors. In addition, it boosts the regional economy as a source of local employment, social and economic stability.

Today, the sector faces several problems, such as:

  • the fierce global competition of cheaper products;
  • loss of old skills and traditions;
  • difficulties of getting into the market;
  • losing customer appeal of traditional crafts' products;
  • lack of financial resources and economic capacity, as the sector is mostly dominated by micro-enterprises, self-employed or hobby-based establishments.

The REGIO-CRAFTS project addresses these problems. It brings together six partners from six countries, with the overall objective to strengthen the craft industry as an economic sector and to raise its importance in the economy and development of each participating region. The project explores policy development practices and design for strengthening the craft industry, including financial and economic support mechanisms, certification and voucher systems.

Project activities include an analysis of regional policies and craft industry support measures, good practice exchange seminars and study visits, local and EU level dissemination activities, and consultation meetings with stakeholders. The exchange of experience activities result in a case study report, describing regional methodologies and policy tools, including joint analysis and recommendations at EU, national and regional levels. The results will feed into partner’s implementation plans, ensuring the durability of project results.

The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.