At a time when Europe is going through a difficult identity crisis, the outermost regions reaffirm their commitment to the European project and their willingness to move forward within the Union providing high levels of economic development and well-being to their citizens. This objective can only be achieved if European initiatives and policies are adapted to the unique and permanent reality of outermost regions.
The renewed commitment of the European Commission with its outermost regions to achieve a better integration within the EU, as expressed in its new communication “A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU’s outermost regions” is fundamental for our regions and is part of the reflection concerning the future of Europe and the preparation of the next programming period. It should be developed in the light of the EU’s Court of Justice judgment regarding the scope of article 349 TFEU, establishing it as a single and sufficient legal basis to adopt measures aiming at adapting European legislation to their particular features.
The new Communication must enable the dimensions of equal opportunities, competitiveness and external projection, which are absolutely inseparable, to become indicators of any ambitious public policy for outermost regions, representing an excellent starting point of this approach.
In this context, the Conference of Presidents of outermost regions, in its joint Memorandum of March 2017, has set objectives aligned with the main axes of the Communication to increase the visibility of outermost regions, defend their interests in the next financial and budgetary framework and to move forward as one in a coordinated manner on common areas of interest, demonstrating the added value that outermost regions bring to the EU.
In spite of the permanent difficulties they face, ORs offer a unique and different dimension, without which the EU would lose its identity, its geostrategic advantage, its biodiversity and its privileged natural environments for implementing scientific research activities, particularly in blue and circular economy or renewable energies, in addition to offering an exceptional natural environment for safe and sustainable tourism.
In this uncertain but promising period, our technical collaboration will be strengthened through our employment, energy and smart specialization networks, and we endeavor for a closer cooperation with neighboring environments. All of this will help ensure that our needs are identified and that the opportunities we offer are exploited and better utilized.
Fernando Clavijo Batlle
Presidente del Gobierno de las Islas Canarias
Presidente de la Conferencia de Presidentes de las Regiones Ultraperiféricas