Program Presidency

AZORES PRESIDENCY PROGRAM

2020/2021

 

INTRODUCTION

The World, Europe, the European Union and its regions are still experiencing the striking effects of the SARS COV 2 pandemic (COVID 19).

Although the hope brought by the administration of the first vaccines clearly brings a prospect of recovery, uncertain in terms of schedule and definition, all European regions and, even more so, the Outermost Regions suffer the severe economic and social effects originating from a health crisis that calls into question health services and the normal operation of all economic and social sectors.

This is the scenario for the Azores’ Presidency of the Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost Regions, committed to highlight the specific characteristics of these Regions in the current framework and to advocate the need for a clear-cut consideration of their constraints against the backdrop of the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.

The articulation with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, which takes place during the first half of 2021, takes on a pivotal role, while also paying close attention to the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan in the EU and in our respective Member States, together with the community budget for the 2021-2027 time period. These are elemental levers to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic on companies, productive sectors, and citizens.

This year of Azores chairing the CP-ORs will also be used to continue to highlight the potential of the ORs in key areas for the pursuit of their future development and of the European Union itself, such as the sea, renewable energies, and the fight against climate change, scientific collaboration, with a focus on internal dissemination of the ORs’ reality, in an effort to raise awareness to our similarities and equality before our own citizens.

The Presidency of the Azores is fully aware that the COVID 19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge that will involve a change in the ways of doing and working over the coming times, and will develop this program via 3 different scenarios:

  • Favourable conditions to travel, while maintaining social distance, participation limits and ensuring full compliance with all hygiene and safety rules;
  • Unfavourable conditions for conducting in-person activities, promoting an increase in digital, online, and video conferencing work;
  • Hybrid option for activities and initiatives that simultaneously take on a face-to-face and digital character.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

In order to pursue the objectives of this interregional cooperation body, the 2020-2021 Presidency of the Azores will be set on the following 7 strategic objectives:

Strategic Objective 1: Carry on defending the status of the Outermost Regions in the negotiations on policies of interest to the ORs and monitor the implementation of the EU’s long-term budget, making sure that the provisions of Article 349 of the TFEU are fully implemented;

Strategic Objective 2: Keep connecting and working with the Portuguese Presidency of the EU, the Council, the Commission, the Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions with the aim of preparing a review of the EU Strategy for the ORs;

Strategic Objective 3: Organize the CP-ORs’ active participation in the “Conference on the Future of Europe” works;

Strategic Objective 4: Proceed with the administrative steps related to the “Association of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs” and, while doing so, submit the necessary adjustments to the Cooperation Protocol;

Strategic Objective 5: Ensure the operation of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs, as well as increase the visibility of the ORs and the Conference of Presidents;

Strategic Objective 6: Strengthen, foster, and promote the development of cooperation projects between the ORs;

Strategic Objective 7: Promote knowledge and debate about the reality of the ORs, encouraging the organization and participation in relevant thematic events and sessions.

ACTIVITIES TO BE DEVELOPED

The activities to be developed seek to specifically implement the strategic objectives.

Activities of the CP-ORs

Activities and undertakings arising from the regular activity of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs and their Presidency.

Strategic Objective 1: Carry on defending the status of the Outermost Regions in the negotiations on policies of interest to the ORs and monitor the implementation of the EU’s long-term budget, making sure that the provisions of Article 349 of the TFEU are fully implemented;

  • Regularly provide reports/organize regular meetings with the European institutions;
  • Coordinate the contribution of the ORs to the Commission’s study on the impact of COVID 19 on the ORs;Advocate before the Commission the preliminary nature of said study and request a new one when the effects of the pandemic are properly measurable;
  • Submittal of joint contributions from the ORs to public consultations launched by the European Commission.

Strategic Objective 2: Keep connecting and working with the Portuguese Presidency of the EU, the Council, the Commission, the Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions with the aim of preparing a review of the EU Strategy for the ORs;

  • Establish connections for the introduction of specific content on the ORs with regard to the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council (Cohesion) (18/05/2021), namely pertaining the request for Renewal of the EU Strategy on the ORs, POSEI, maintenance of the OR Group, etc.;
  • Organize the Mid-term meeting of the Presidents of the Outermost Regions in May (before the General Affairs Council meeting);Internal session of Presidents; Sessions with representatives of the EP, the PPEC and the EC; “Joint statement by the ORs’ Presidents to the General Affairs Council of 18/05/2021”, which brings together the concerns that the ORs would like to see included in the Conclusions of said Council.

Strategic Objective 3: Organize the CP-ORs’ active participation in the “Conference on the Future of Europe” works;

  • Analysis and drafting of a contribution in the context of the “Conference on the Future of Europe”.

Strategic Objective 4: Proceed with the administrative steps related to the “Association of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs” and, while doing so, submit the necessary adjustments to the Cooperation Protocol;

  • Pursuance of the CP-ORs Association’s activity (Activity Plan, Budget, and next General Assembly).

Strategic Objective 5: Ensure the operation of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs, as well as increase the visibility of the ORs and the Conference of Presidents;

  • Organization: Steering Committee meetings, Mid-term meeting of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs, XXVI Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions;
  • Promote the holding of meetings of the Commission/ORs/Member States tripartite Group in conjunction with the Commission.

Strategic Objective 6: Strengthen, foster, and promote the development of cooperation projects between the ORs;

  • Assess project development possibilities within the scope of the new programming period (Horizon Europe, INTERREG);
  • Development and completion of ongoing projects;
  • Strive for the implementation of a legitimate extended inter-ORs cooperation within the framework of INTERREG.

Activities of the CP-ORs Azores Presidency

To be carried out in conjunction with the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions, as well as with other entities, institutions, and bodies.

Strategic Objective 1: Carry on defending the status of the Outermost Regions in the negotiations on policies of interest to the ORs and monitor the implementation of the EU’s long-term budget, making sure that the provisions of Article 349 of the TFEU are fully implemented;

  • Organize, in conjunction with the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), the General Assembly of the Islands Commission, 22 April 2021, Azores. Promote the participation of the ORs in panel 2: “The Islands and the Recovery Plans: Opportunities and Challenges”.

Strategic Objective 2: Keep connecting and working with the Portuguese Presidency of the EU, the Council, the Commission, the Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions with the aim of preparing a review of the EU Strategy for the ORs;

  • Organize the Meeting of the Council’s Structural Actions Working Group, Azores, 10 and 11 June 2021. (TBC)

Strategic Objective 3: Organize the CP-ORs’ active participation in the “Conference on the Future of Europe” works;

  • Organize debates on the role of the ORs in the EU and the future of Europe – Dialogue with Citizens.

Strategic Objective 5: Ensure the operation of the Conference of Presidents of the ORs, as well as increase the visibility of the ORs and the Conference of Presidents;

  • Organize events of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU (PPEC) in the Azores with the seal of the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions and integration of the ORs in the thematic regional events;
  • Promote the ORs’ website https://cp-rup.com;
  • Publication: “Balanço da Presidência dos Açores da CP-ORs”;
  • Publication: “As RUP em ação“, compilation of the main structuring texts of the ORs (Legal Foundations, Cooperation Protocol, Final Statements).

Strategic Objective 6: Strengthen, foster, and promote the development of cooperation projects between the ORs;

  • Create an ORs think tank; promote partnerships between the Universities of the ORs in the scope of research, in order to develop a think tank, with a view to supporting the ORs in carrying out studies, tenders for European projects, etc.

Strategic Objective 7: Promote knowledge and debate about the reality of the ORs, encouraging the organization and participation in relevant thematic events and sessions.

  • Climate change and energy transition – The ORs at the forefront of clean energy: Webinar/in-person conference (if possible) with specialists from the ORs, representatives of the EU, to think about specific examples of the reality of the ORs that may result in the production of studies, contributions, working documents to be used by the CP-ORs and/or sent to institutions; Participate in the Green Week, involving the Energy OR Network (TBC).
  • ORs Sea – potential of the blue economy: Integrate a panel on the abovementioned theme in the Agenda of the PPEC event “All-Atlantic R&I for a Sustainable Ocean”, to take place on 3-4 June, Azores;
  • Air and maritime transport as a strategic factor for the ORs: tackling dual insularity: Webinar/in-person conference (if possible) with specialists from the ORs, representatives of the EU, to think about specific examples of the reality of the ORs that may result in the production of studies, contributions, working documents to be used by the CP-ORs and/or sent to institutions;
  • The sustainability of the primary sector in the ORs and the impact of COVID 19: Webinar/in-person conference (if possible) with specialists from the ORs, representatives of the EU, to think about specific examples of the reality of the ORs that may result in the production of studies, contributions, working documents to be used by the CP-ORs and/or sent to institutions;
  • Education Summit (Virtual – at political level): Gather representatives at the political level such as the Presidents of the ORs to discuss a strategy to counter School Failure and Dropout;
  • “9 Azorean Islands, 9 ORs” initiative: Despite the repeated reference to the fact that the Azores are an Outermost Region, there is a lack of knowledge, in our Region, of whom and what the other ORs are. Considering the coincidence between the number of islands in the Azores and the number of Outermost Regions, the Autonomous Region of the Azores intends to introduce to schools and citizens in general, in each of the islands of the Azores, one of the Outermost Regions. The initiative will take place in partnership with schools in the Region, as well as some municipalities. More specifically, schools shall provide training about the ORs in general and on each of the ORs, encouraging students to create works (texts, drawings) about the learned content;
  • Publication “9 ilhas dos Açores, 9 RUP”: Publication with updated information on each of the Outermost Regions, namely a description of each of the ORs from the historical, economic, political, and cultural points of view. This information will be illustrated with the student’s best works, within the scope of the initiative “9 Azorean Islands, 9 ORs”.