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New European Atlantic Strategy - a key role for regions

ocean

Last month, the Committee on Regional Development, of which our French MEP Laurence Farreng is a member, unanimously adopted the report on the EU's Atlantic Strategy. In it, it calls for the creation of a macro-region with Spain, Portugal, and Ireland as well as more means to protect the ocean and develop the blue economy.

The strategy targets marine as well as coastal territories and focuses on three priorities: to be smarter, i.e. to invest in research, digitalisation, and upskilling; greener, so based on renewables and climate change adjustment; and more social, thus investing in sustainable tourism but also in improved governance.

Our Basque MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (EAJ-PNV), whose country is implicated in the strategy, underlined that "the EU’s Atlantic strategy has a huge potential to make sustainability the basis of its development".

Compromiso por Galicia, the EDP’s Galician member party, said: “The fishing sector must be made more sustainable by modernising the fleet, committing to more local and organic aquaculture farming, and investing in the recovery of coasts.”

Regions play a key role in leading the transition of the economy of this part of the EU towards sectors and processes that make it more resilient, Izaskun Bilbao said: "We have proposed what needs to be done. But we have also opted for a form of participatory governance, in which the contributions of cities and regions are valued, appreciated, guaranteed and defended, drawing on all their knowledge, management capacity and proximity, which are so important in promoting public-private partnerships." Compromiso por Galicia echoed this: “When it comes to managing the distribution of recovery funds, regions must be at the forefront.”

Izaskun Bilbao also stressed the other key point of the proposal, "our demand for the timely completion of the infrastructure included in the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) which we need to develop emerging sectors and businesses. There are huge opportunities in mobility, energy, shipbuilding, fisheries and aquaculture, tourism and other sectors that need these facilities and will be a source of quality jobs.”

Compromiso por Galicia added: “The EU must bet on renewable energies for a sustainable transport. Furthermore, a European port network connected by rail should be created.”

This new macro-regional alliance should also be helpful in overcoming the impact that Brexit has had on the whole Atlantic seaboard of the Union. "We are contributing innovative proposals for training and we are not forgetting the potential of the Atlantic outermost regions", Izaskun Bilbao promised.