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Ponta Delgada ,  June 15, 2010

European Council defends special attention for the outermost regions

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, who met at the European Council in Luxembourg, have defended that special attention should be given to the outermost regions, taking into account “the needs and opportunities” presented by those “under the revision of EU policies,” an attitude that meets the ideas advocated by the Azores.

The Council stressed that the “Europe 2020” strategy and its priorities should also be fully implemented in the outermost regions, which must take into account their “specific features and constraints.”

European Ministers have also stressed the “important role of the natural and cultural heritage of the Outermost Regions” regarding the potential for economic development and employment generation, whereas these regions represent an “asset for the European Union” in areas such as research and innovation, renewable energy, biodiversity, agriculture, fisheries, health, information and communication technologies, cultural industries, maritime affairs and territorial cooperation.”

The conclusions of the European Council underline the need to renew, in due time, the strategy for the outermost regions and invite the EU Commission to “take into account, in this context, the needs and opportunities presented by the regions in the revision of EU policies,” in addition to “adopting, when possible, a notice to submit a renewed strategy for the outermost regions.” Moreover, the EU Council added the importance of continuing to work “on specific measures for the outermost regions, reinforce the partnership and systematically assess the effects of EU policies on the outermost regions, particularly when carrying out studies to assess their impact.”

The Council also praised the organisation of the first Forum for Outermost Europe, held in Brussels on May 27 and 28, which counted upon the participation of European Community institutions, Member States, regions, their public institutions, companies, the community, researchers and the civil society, and stressed that the forum has raised the awareness for the problems the regions face with.”

Acknowledging the importance of organising the I Forum for Outermost Europe was very rewarding for the Regional Secretary of the Presidency who, during the conference, stressed “the commitment taken by the European Commission in 2008 in his paper on “The outermost regions: an asset for Europe,” thus embodying a proposal submitted by the Government of the Azores that had been presented at the conference on “The Future of the European Strategy for the ORs,” held in Brussels in 2008.”

During his speech, André Bradford defended that “in the Future Regional policy, the revision of the EU budget as well as in the financial perspectives after 2013, or in the context of the EU 20/20 strategy, it is urgent to provide and implement a specific, cross-cutting and coherent compensation scheme given the unique combination of structural constraints that impede our development process and make us more vulnerable than other regions. The Regional Secretary added that we should also promote the “use and profitability of our potential to benefit our population and the European project that we all have unconditionally embraced.”

The Regional Under Secretary for European Affairs and External Cooperation defended that “the European Union must, for example, correct their policies concerning the sea by reintroducing the protection area of the Azorean sea,  recognising the benefits and enabling a local, decentralised and environmentally responsible management of the fishing effort.” 

Likewise, the Regional Under Secretary considered that the European Union “should not only acknowledge the quality and relevance of the primary and traditional sectors of our economies, but also enhance the promotion of their competitiveness and protect the income of producers, especially in view of the deregulation of the dairy sector; a measure that will have a great impact on the Azorean productive sector.”

“If it is true that the Union acknowledges ORs’ unique combination of permanent and structural constraints, therefore the development of the economic areas in which the ORs have a special vocation and natural specialisation conditions should be allowed. It is a fact that this goal will only be feasible and effectively pursued if there is a very determined effort without theoretical constraints in the defence of our specificity as well as in the promotion of our competitive advantages and specific skills,” stated André Bradford.

The Regional Secretary of the Presidency has no doubts concerning the idea of how “we define ourselves as outermost regions,” and explained: “we are not just a small, fragmented and distant region. We are also proud of being an area of agricultural vocation with a strong connection to the sea, which is aware of its natural and environmental potential. We are also the medium for the transatlantic projection of Europe’s interests due to the geographic, cultural, historical and emotional connection we have established with the territories on the other side of the Atlantic, thus contributing to assertion and integration of our continent in the world.”

“The asset that we bring to the European project is the result of the combination of these characteristics which, in our view, justify coordinated action of the European Union to meet our specific desires,” concluded André Bradford.




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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