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Bruges ,  February 26, 2020

Rui Bettencourt highlights potential of the Azores in the construction of the European Union

The Regional Assistant Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations highlighted at the College of Europe in Bruges the importance of the Azores in the European Union, mentioning their potential and young people's role in the construction of Europe. 

“It was interesting to convey to these young people from various European countries and future leaders of the European Union that the Azores bring added value to Europe,” said Rui Bettencourt. He spoke after presenting a paper on the theme "Azores, a profoundly European Outermost Region " to more than a hundred young students attending that institution. 

The paper presented by the Regional Secretary was part of the conference "The role of Southern European States in the EU: European, national and regional perspective," an event held under the Iberian Week 2020 programme.

"These young people are the hope for Europe with their beliefs, proactivity and determination. They will continue the European project in coming years as well as the construction of the European Union despite the difficulties, which are also an incentive for us to act properly," stressed Rui Bettencourt. 

In his speech, the Secretary for External Relations highlighted the added value brought by the Azores as an Outermost Region to Europe, also pointing out their weaknesses. The latter are duly recognised by Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, given its distance from the European continent, its geographical dispersion and its size, which weaken its economy. 

Rui Bettencourt highlighted “the oceanic dimension brought by the Azores to the European Union as one of their greatest assets, accounting for more than 25% of the European Union's sea." This is particularly relevant “at a time when the blue economy and the economy of the sea are emerging as one of the pillars of economic development in the European Union,” the government official said, ensuring that “the Azores are present and ready to participate in this adventure and in this blue economy." 

Furthermore, the Regional Secretary emphasised that "the Azores are also a great asset due to the geostrategic positioning." 

"We are on the border between several worlds, namely between the American world and the European world. We are on the trade route between Europe and America and Latin America," said the government official. In terms of their geoeconomic positioning, the Azores are also emerging with a number of economic activities, such as space, “which also bring an important economic dimension to the European Union.” 

For the Regional Secretary, the fact that there are more than one million Azoreans spread around the world, mostly in the USA, Brazil, Canada and Bermuda, "extends Europe all over the world and contributes to the projection of Europe in the world." In this regard, he considered that "the European Union must also take this asset into consideration, which is also another European asset."
All this together, this perspective for the future and the present combined with our history and with the various European peoples who stopped in the Azores on their southern route, has shaped the Azores and contributed to the construction of their culture and identity, making them a profoundly European region," said Rui Bettencourt.


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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