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Ponta Delgada ,  January 31, 2011

Azorean Government takes position in debate on the future of the EU Cohesion Policy

The Government of the Azores has presented to the European Commission its contribution to the future of the Cohesion Policy of the European Union, an assessment integrated in the public consultation process of the “Fifth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion.” This report emphasises the decisive contribution of this policy “to a more harmonious growth and to the reduction of regional disparities within the European Union by creating employment, developing human capital, building infrastructures and promoting environmental protection, particularly in the less developed regions of Europe.”

In this document, the Government of the Azores defends the need and the importance of “structuring a cohesion policy post-2013, which should be both an assurance and a tool at the service of solidarity within the EU territory in a complex economic and social context, through a “reinforced allocation of funds,” a “fundamental” condition to achieve the success of a policy that aims to be “more ambitious, allowing all regions to pursue the goal of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.”

The position of the Azores advocates the need to take into account “the exclusive specificity of the territorial, economic and social reality of the ORs, according to the provisions of the Treaty,” drawing the attention to the fact that the situation of these Regions is neither “similar nor comparable – whether by the severity, intensity or combination of constraints or by their legal status – to other territorial realities in Europe.” Therefore, in compliance with the status of Outermost Region as well as with the goal of territorial cohesion, “the fundamental improvements and aspects of the current scheme for the Outermost Regions should be maintained and reinforced in the future cohesion policy.” 

According to the Regional Government, “the cohesion policy should unequivocally preserve its autonomy of action and its overall goal of contributing decisively to the reduction of regional disparities, with special emphasis on the most disadvantaged areas.” Moreover, it should also “contribute to goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy as long as the goals of economic, social and territorial cohesion remain priority.”

The Azores also urged the need to “meet the specific challenges of Outermost Regions” and, thus, the definition of priorities should “allow a large degree of flexibility, without being too restrictive on the possibilities of choice.”

Stressing the importance of “promoting the use of new financial tools,” the Government of the Azores considers that “the use and incentive to such tools should be adapted to fragile economies as well as to the limited and fragmented markets” of the ORs, thus “maintaining the current scheme and the possibility of direct aid to economic competitiveness, given the relevance of their small and medium companies.”

In the context of the drafting and structuring f the Cohesion Policy, the Government believes that “territorial cohesion also entails the reinforcement of partnerships between different levels of governance and the acknowledgment of the relevance of regional authorities in the process, particularly of those with political and legislative autonomy.”

The Azorean Government also defends that “richness of historical, linguistic and cultural ties that link different places throughout the world, despite geographical distance, is not a negligible dimension of the integration process of a European and outermost region, such as the Azores,” hence it will be necessary “to enable the access to cross-border territorial cooperation programmes to all Outermost Regions, (...) with the purpose of asserting the EU in the world.”
 
Furthermore, it should be noted a “fundamental and indispensable dimension for the success of the cohesion policy post-2013, mentioned in the conclusion of the Fifth Report,” which concerns “the flexibility in the creation and implementation of the tools,” especially on “how to maximise the added value of the cohesion policy in the context of the specificities of the ORs” or “in the context of thematic concentration.”

The Government of the Azores has also participated in the preparation and drafting of the joint contributions of the Conference of Outermost Regions and of the Islands Commission. These documents, in which these inter-regional cooperation bodies defend the interests as well as the status of Outermost Regions in the future of the Cohesion Policy, have also been submitted to the European Commission.


 
 
 
 
 
   
 

Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

 
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