It is both a great honour and a great responsibility for me to chair the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions (OR) at a particularly complex time when, in addition to the structural constraints our citizens are facing, there are also those arising from a context of slow economic recovery after the pandemic and new global threats casting a shadow of uncertainty over the prospects for growth and socio-economic development.
In this context, the ORs represent like no other region the diversity in the melting pot of the European Union, with a clear pro-European spirit, despite having to face important constraints imposed by geography as determined by the policy and rules applicable to our regions.
Our European membership is based on an undeniable principle of the European integration: solidarity. Solidarity is understood in a broad sense, not only as an expression of empathy towards other people’s adversity, but also a shared responsibility.
I assume this responsibility with a feeling of deep commitment to the outermost regions, the enhancement of our internal consultation procedures, the strengthened dialogue with the European Commission and our Members of the European Parliament, as well as with absolute loyalty to our States.
Now I take the baton from my predecessors from Martinique and the Azores to continue their work in favour of our regions, focusing on the implementation of the new strategy for the ORs and its development within the context of the debate on the future of Europe. We must identify goals and priorities, develop elements of evidence to justify our demands and find the necessary support to decisively tackle our way out of the crisis and return to the path of economic growth and social recovery for our regions.
During this year, I will seek to maintain and consolidate our common political momentum to ensure that the story of the outermost regions remains an unprecedented success in terms of political action in favour of the five million European citizens living in these remote and isolated territories.
Ángel Víctor Torres
President of the Canary Islands