METREX Autumn Conference 2023

22-25 October 2023 , Braga

Framing Metropolitan Cohesion Policies: Exploring Urban-Rural Partnerships

We are delighted to announce that our 2023 Autumn Conference will be hosted by new Member CIM Cávado in the fantastic city of Braga, which blends over 2000-years of history with a young, cosmopolitan and confident outlook.

Exploring Urban-Rural Partnerships

Metropolitan regions and areas in Europe represent over 100 million inhabitants. They contribute the metropolitan dimension to policies, programmes and projects on a European scale by bringing urban and rural areas together.

It is this approach that inspires our forthcoming Autumn Conference. We will use the conference to learn about and discuss the Cohesion Policy and urban-rural partnerships, and how metropolitan regions and areas are best-in-place to deliver the collaborations necessary for mutual benefits. For this, we will learn from METREX Members in Portugal, as well as other international examples from across the network.

An important element in the conference will be how the Rural Vision and Pact could be translated into concrete measures, not only within the CIM Cávado area, but also elsewhere in Europe.

An overview of our time in Braga is available on the METREX website. Further details on the programme and registration will be available soon.

Please join us in Braga to support the Metropolitan Dimension and its potential to help urban and rural areas benefit from working together!

Overview programme

Sun 22 October
Arrival day

City Centre tours

Informal reception

Mon 23 October
Conference Day 1

EU Cohesion Policy beyond 2027 – panel debate

Portuguese Metropolitan Regions and Areas explained

Reception and Dinner

Tue 24 October
Conference Day 2

From the EU vision to the local strategies and practice

The Manifesto for a Metropolitan Europe
Parallel Sessions on Urban-Rural initiatives

Study Visits

Conference Dinner

Wed 25 October
METREX Working Sessions

Members’ General Assembly
Network and Expert Groups

Early afternoon
Closing remarks and conclusions


Times and details within this programme are tentative and may change as speakers are confirmed and sessions are refined. Please ensure to check back to see the latest programme. For any questions, please contact the METREX team on

Sunday 22 October 2023

Optional afternoon programme for all who will arrive early

Managing Committee Meeting
Optional Study Visit
Walking visit around the historical and cultural city centre of Braga

Meet at: CIM Cávado
Rua do Carmo 29-33, Braga (Map)

Tour will finish at the Cathedral at 18:00

Informal drinks at a city centre location
Drinks are at your own expense

Meet at: Outside the entrance to Cathedral Sé De Braga
R. Dom Paio Mendes, 4700-424 Braga (Map)

Monday 23 October 2023

Venue: Dom Diogo Sousa Museum
R. dos Bombeiros Voluntários s/n, 4700-025 Braga (Map)

Jakub Mazur, President of METREX
Ricardo Rio, President of CIM Cávado
Framing the Local Questions and Challenges


António Cunha, North Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission
Ana Abrunhosa, Portuguese Territorial Cohesion Minister
Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner (video address)


EU Cohesion Policy beyond 2027
Keynote speaker and moderator: Prof. Fernando Alexandre Minho University

Debate session with political representatives:
José Manuel Fernandes, Member of the European Parliament
Duarte Rodrigues, Vice-President, Portuguese Agency for Development and Cohesion Parliament

EU perspective – The EU Rural Vision
Keynote speaker and moderator: Silvia Nanni
Directorate General for Agricolture and Rural Development, Rural Pact

Debate session with political representatives:
Isabel Carvalhais, Member of the European Parliament
Margarida Belém, Mayor of Arouca (AMP)

Lunch and Museum Visit

Metropolitan Regions and Areas in Portugal
Moderator: Cristina Azevedo, observer and opinionist

In Dialogue with

Filipe Ferreira, Metropolitan Secretary, Lisbon Metropolitan Area
Eduardo Vitor Rodrigues, President, Porto Metropolitan Area,
Mayor of Gaia
Jorge Brito, Executive Secretary, Coimbra Region
Intermunicipal Community
Júlio Pereira, Executive Vogal, Managing Authority Norte 2030


Reflections and debate
Cristina Azevedo, observer and opinionist
Filipe Teles, pro-rector Aveiro University and President EURA

Visit and Dinner at Vila Verde
Travel by Bus

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Venue: Dom Diogo Sousa Museum
R. dos Bombeiros Voluntários s/n, 4700-025 Braga (Map)

The Metropolitan Manifesto Europe 2050
Łukasz Medeksza, Deputy Director of the Strategy and City Development Department Municipality of Wrocław

From the EU vision to the local strategies and practice:
The way forward to get Stronger, Connected, Prosperous and Resilient

Moderator: Dr. Ing- Uwe Ferber, STADTLAND, GmbH and Metropolitan Landscapes Expert Group leader

Metropolitan Partnerships across Urban and Rural: Case Studies
This session will link the Manifesto for a Metropolitan Europe to concrete practices that are being implemented across Europe across a range of sectors.


Metropolitan Partnerships across Urban and Rural: Case Studies Continued
Roundtable discussion with audience participation

Łukasz Medeksza, Deputy Director of the Strategy and City Development Department Municipality of Wrocław
and International representatives from the cases explored


Study Visits
Walking tour to some of the highlights of regional importance including the renovated Braga Municipal Market, and GRNation, a cultural hub for creation and performance of contemporary music bridging art and technologies.

Visit and Conference Dinner

Visit to Sameiro Sanctuary
followed by
Dinner at Bom Jesus do Monte

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Venue: CIM Cávado
Rua do Carmo 29-33, Braga (Map)

METREX Network Session
METREX Expert Groups’ members are invited to reflect on the conference questions/topics. This conclusive final gathering will be dedicated to exchange on what has emerged from the three-day working sessions and openly discuss the way forward.
METREX General Assembly
Open to METREX Members only
Agenda issued directly to principal contacts at each Member organisation.
Expert Group Meetings (TBC)

Connection through Porto

Bus – direct from Porto Airport
From Porto International airport, the quickest, most direct and cheapest way to reach Braga is by bus. There are a number of bus operators running direct services to Braga city centre, taking between 45-60 minutes. Tickets can be booked in advance.

For more information on bus transfers from Porto airport to Braga, the website Rome to Rio can help with assessing the best options.

Bus operators:

Train – from Porto City Centre
If you wish to take the train to Braga, you will first need to travel from Porto International airport into the centre of Porto. Trains to Braga depart from São Bento station and are direct to Braga.

Train operator:

Connection through Lisbon

Braga can also be reached via Lisbon. This involves a high-speed train connection, which takes around 3,5 hours. More information.

There are a range of options for stay in Braga. Here is a selection you might consider. However, we always recommend that you check price comparison websites for the best rates such as

Basic Braga by Axis **
Largo da Estação, 30
4700-223 Braga


Urban Hotel Estação***
Largo da Estação, 13
4700-223 Braga


Mercure Braga Centro Hotel****
Av. João XXI
4715-036 BRAGA


IBIS Budget Braga Centro**
Av. da Liberdade, 96
4715-037 BRAGA


Hotel Moon & Sun Braga
Rua dos Capelistas, 85
4700-307 BRAGA


Hotel Senhora A Branca***
Largo da Senhora A Branca, 58
4710-443 Braga


Hotel Vila Garden Braga ****
Largo de Infias
4710-299 Braga


Golden Tulip Braga Hotel & SPA****
Estrada Via Falperra
4800-000 Braga


Hotel Melia Braga *****
Av. General Carrilho da Silva Pinto, n.8
4715-380 BRAGA


Hóteis Bom Jesus: