The Minister of Finance and External Relations is calling for an increase in aid for freight transport for companies on the islands.
The Minister of Finance and External Relations, Rosario Sánchez, today in Brussels defended the need to make progress in the development of a specific strategy for the islands within the framework of the European Union (EU) and other challenges to cohesion set out by the territories of the Euroregion Pyrenees-Mediterranean (EPM) – the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and the Occitania Region, Catalonia and the Occitania Region-, on the occasion of the presentation of the 2021-2030 roadmap of this European grouping of territorial cooperation, to various authorities of the European institutions, including the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira.
The Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion delegation included the Councillor Rosario Sánchez and the Director-General of External Relations, Antoni Vicens, on behalf of the Government of the Balearic Islands, and representatives of the Government of Catalonia and the Occitania Region, such as the Catalan Minister of Foreign Action and Open Government, Victòria Alsina, and the Vice-President Nadia Pellefigue, of the Occitan government, which currently chairs the EPM.
This representation of the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion has travelled to Brussels to present its actions and the 2021-2030 roadmap of this European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC) and to continue to gain visibility and strengthen its key role, an example of good practice in the construction of the Europe of the Regions.
During the visit to Brussels, Councillor Sánchez and the representatives of Catalonia and Occitania met with the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira; the President of the Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas; the MEP and President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development, Younous Omarjee; and the Head of Cabinet of the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.
On behalf of the Balearic Islands, the Councillor for Finance and External Relations, Rosario Sánchez, stressed that the EPM roadmap until 2030 faces “challenges” such as the response “to climate and environmental emergencies, to accelerate the ecological and energy transformation of our territories, or the promotion of an innovative, resilient and circular economy”.
During the meetings, Sánchez also raised “the need to make progress in the development of Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU in terms of the special attention that must be paid, through a specific strategy, to island territories and mountain areas”, two essential components of the Euroregion’s geography and its territorial cohesion.
In this regard, he stressed the objective of achieving a specific status for the islands within the framework of the EU, in line with the opinion approved by the Committee of the Regions at the initiative of the Balearic Islands and the work carried out with the Spanish Government and with various European institutions.
He also defended the importance of increasing the current limit on aid for the transport of goods to companies on the islands, a demand to modify the European de minimis regulations that will also be passed on to the Islands Commission – currently under the presidency of the Balearic Islands – of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe.
The EPM is an example of solidarity among its members, bringing together rural, mountain and island issues, with a single voice at regional, Mediterranean, national and European level, capable of mobilising within the framework of positions such as “Time to act” presented at COP26 in Glasgow. It therefore insists on the need to support the Euroregions and their territories in terms of specific funding from cohesion policy funds, on the basis of the objectives of Article 174 of the Treaty.
THE 2030 ROADMAP FOR THE PYRENEES-MEDITERRANEAN EUROREGION
On behalf of the Occitania Region, its Vice-President and Councillor for Education, Research, Europe and Institutional Relations, Nadia Pellefigue, representing Carole Delga, current President of Occitania and the EPM, highlighted the structure’s track record, experience and willingness to innovate, which make it a key player for territorial cooperation.